Kenya’s flower and horticultural industry eyes higher prospects as more than 270 exhibitors and hundreds of buyers arrived in Nairobi for the fourth edition of the International flower trade expo or Iftex.
Flower exports, the largest foreign exchange earner last year, brought in Sh82.24 billion, up from Sh70.83 billion in 2016.
The industry remains resilient despite climate change challenges.
There is excitement in the industry as the country prepares for direct flights to the US.
Trade PS Chris Kiptoo told flower and vegetable growers that the government would facilitate agreements with economic blocs and countries.
Kenya sells its flowers and vegetables to more than 60 countries.
“We are holding negotiations with several countries to urge them buy our flowers. We have signed the economic partnership agreement, which liberalises 100 per cent trade with the European Union and 82 per cent trade with African countries,” Dr Kiptoo said.
He added that the ministry is working hard to improve fair trade practices.
Kenya Flower Council CEO Clement Tulezi said he the country’s flowers remain competitive in the international market.
“We hope the direct flights will boost Kenya’s cut flower market share in the US from the current four per cent,” he said.
The US flower market is dominated by Colombia, which commands 70 per cent share.
Mr Tulezi said Kenya’s climate is ideal for flower growing.
Transporting flowers to the US has been a big challenge to exporters since they have to fly them through Amsterdam in the Netherlands, affecting quality.