Kenya seeks to tap Chinese flower market to boost sector earnings

Source:CGTN Published: 2017/9/18 9:26:55

Kenya's flower industry is tapping into the growing Chinese market as part of the country's effort to diversify its exports market. 

The expanding Chinese economy has created demand for high quality flowers, Kenya Flower Council (KFC) CEO Jane Ngige said. 

"Chinese consumers are willing to pay a premium price for high quality flowers. We therefore want to tap into the high value flower segment of the Chinese market in order to enhance our farmers earnings," Ngige said, adding that to meet demand, the industry is seeking to move up the flower value chain amid rising costs of production.

According to Ngige, most of Kenyan flower exports reach China via Netherlands-based flower auctions, while a number of Kenyan flower firms do send flowers directly to China but in limited quantities.

Kevin Liu is one of the few Chinese businessmen who specializes in exporting Kenyan flowers to China directly. 

Liu believes Kenyan flowers can be competitive in the Chinese market due to factors including the presence of direct air links between the two countries, though logistics remains a challenge for businesses due to the need to balance inward and outward cargo.

Ngige said that increased sales to China will help the industry diversify its export markets. 

"Currently the industry is very vulnerable as most of its produce is sold to a single economic bloc," she said. 

According to the ministry of agriculture, the flower sector earned Kenya about 690 million US dollars in 2016, making it one of the leading sources of foreign exchange.

Kenya's flower industry has produced a relatively stable volume in recent years. 

Last year, the east African nation exported approximately 133,000 tons of flowers, the bulk of which was absorbed by European Union member states, according to the website of the KFC. 


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