May 23,2018, Nairobi. US firms are among the exhibitors that will debut in the seventh edition of the International Flower Trade Expo (IFTEX) in Nairobi, thanks to the expected launch of direct Kenya flights to America in October.
IFTEX says the US merchants want to take advantage of direct flights by Kenya Airways to New York and cut the long process of getting the produce from Amsterdam, where quality is sometimes compromised due to long transit hours.
The expo, which will be held next month, comes at a time when the country is trying to diversify its market from Europe to Asian countries that have been established as a potential market.
The move is aimed at cutting reliance from European Union market, which buys more 50 per cent of the total flowers destined for export.
Kenya Flower Council (KFC) chief executive officer Clement Tulesi says the country has been experiencing stiff competition from countries like Ethiopia, which highly subsidises its farmers.
He said this makes it difficult for Kenya’s produce to compete favourably at the world market.
“Ethiopian farmers enjoy huge subsidies from their government while our cost of production remain high. This is giving Ethiopian an upper hand in the market,” said Mr Tulezi.
Mr Tulezi urged the government to offer financial incentives to growers in the country and give tax reliefs on farm equipment.
He said Kenya is now eyeing to grow the Asian markets of Malaysia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore to tap on the existing potential.
Dick Van Raamsdonk, the chief executive of IFTEX said the exhibition will be a vital platform for Kenya to expand its market to Kenya’s non-traditional markets.
“We want to use this exhibition as a platform to expand our share of the world market and we are already seeing the potential due to the number of firms that have shown interest in participating,” he said.