Kenya lost 25% of its EU horticulture market on Russia-Ukraine war

Kenya has lost twenty five percent of its horticulture market in the EU due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, a sector report has revealed.

The rise in the cost of living occasioned by the war impacted consumers’ purchasing power, resulting in a decline in demand for cut flowers and vegetables in the region.

According to a report revealed at the culmination of the two-day Naivasha Horticultural Fair, there is anticipation that fuel costs may fall in the next months, lowering the high cost of production.

The event drew nearly 200 horticulture exhibitors seeking to promote their products and services.

According to the Fair’s chairman, Richard Mcgonnell, the sector continued to face a number of issues that were impacting production. He cited the high cost of fertilizer and chemicals as significant factors since the Russia war began months ago.

“The sector was on its recovery from Covid-19 when the Russia invasion came up leading to a loss of between 20-25 per cent of our market share in the EU,” he said.

Mcgonnell voiced farmers’ concern over high electricity prices in comparison to neighboring countries Uganda, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.

He also challenged the government to assist small-scale farmers with soil testing, which has remained a big concern, impacting production.

Elad Bouton of Plantec Kenya farm observed that farmer demand for seedlings was increasing despite increased production costs. He stated that the Naivasha-based company was eager to maintain its high standards as demand, primarily from horticulture producers, continued to rise on a daily basis.

“Unlike other farmers, we use very little fertiliser but the prices have impacted negatively on our customers as they are interfering with their purchasing powers,” Elad said.

Elad also raised concern about taxes systems, describing them as overly exorbitant for both manufacturers and their customers.

The European Union is Kenya’s major importer of horticulture items, purchasing 45% of the commodities, which primarily include cut flowers, French beans, snow peas, and Asian vegetables.

The Netherlands, the United Kingdom (UK), Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Belgium, the Middle East, and the Far East are also major export destinations for all horticultural produce.

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