India eyes joint ventures in bid to double exports to Kenya

Tuesday January 19 2016

India’s High Commissioner to Kenya Suchitra

India’s High Commissioner to Kenya Suchitra Durai (right) is shown some of India processed food by Jay Krish during an exhibition at Intercontinental Hotel on January 15, 2016. India seeks to use its world renowned liquor and cuisine brands to increase its exports to Kenya through formation of trade partnerships. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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India plans to double its exports to Kenya by tapping into its one million diaspora community that has lived in the country for the past century.

In a one-day forum held in Nairobi and attended by 20 chief executives, India said it would use its world renowned liquor and cuisine brands to increase its exports to Kenya through formation of trade partnerships.

The delegation was in Kenya as part of a three-nation Africa tour.

The team will also visit Tanzania and DRC Congo which have large population of Indian communities.

India’s plan is part of a two-decade strategy to support agro-processing industries to venture into the export market.

The move, which falls under India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda), has helped India to commercialise its agricultural activities, making it the largest milk producer in the world and the third largest food producer after America and China.

Apeda’s General Manager Shamsher Singh Nayyar said they would partner with Kenya agro-processors to develop new products that could open up new market frontiers.

Mr Singh said Indian cuisine and drinks would be supplied to Kenyan retail chains through direct trader-to-trader partnerships in which India-based agro-processors directly engage Kenyan entrepreneurs.

“We envision a situation whereby Kenyan agro-processors will benefit from technology transfer and new skills in preparing various dishes that could spur increased sales at the ready-to-eat food stores,” he said.

Interestingly, no Kenya government officials attended the event that apparently was meant to mark India’s aggressive foray into Kenya. India exports goods worth Sh116 billion annually to Kenya’s Sh6 billion exports to the Asian country.

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Mr Kiprono Kittony called for implementation of eight trade pacts signed between the chamber and its Indian counterpart saying value-addition partnerships would greatly ease trade imbalance between the two countries.


Mr Kittony said Kenyan traders would also visit India next month to showcase their products especially flowers, horticultural produce, among others that the Indian market has shown interest in.

APEDA, which came into being in 1985 brings together 25,000 exporters and 500 agro-processors from five regional states and accounts for India’s 55.6 per cent exports of its multi-trillion global export trade.

India’s High Commissioner to Kenya, Mrs Suchitra Durai expressed India’s resolve to address the Kenya-India trade imbalance saying more talks are needed between traders in the two countries to address the issue.

Some Indian agro-processors expressed willingness to form partnership with local food processors to come up with new products that could be sold in the two countries.

Surprisingly, while the Indian government leads the campaign to export Indian products, in Kenya it is the private sector and individuals who struggle to break into foreign markets with little assistance from the government.

Many have in the past lamented of lack of support from the Kenya government that has seen their produce rejected in foreign markets, adversely affecting their enterprises.

But this could soon change once the Kenya Bureau of Standards completes an ongoing programme to install new equipment that will help inspect Kenyan goods and ensure they are up to internationally accepted standards.

The Kenya Flower Council and the Fresh Produce Exporters of Kenya recently formed a team to oversee certification thereby enabling Kenyan goods to access the European market.