This study analyzed the horticultural trade between Kenya and other African countries including Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Africa and Egypt. The study consolidated and analyzed data published by the KRA Customs Service for the period 2006-2010 to quantify and identify trends in trade of fresh and processed products.
This was complemented by qualitative information gathered from border stations’ field visits and inputs from horticulture players from both private and public sectors. The horticultural products were calssified into six categories: processed fruits, fresh fruits, processed vegetables (including spices), fresh vegetables, flowers and miraa (crop of economic value).
Over the 5-year period of the study, Kenya exported horticultural products valued at Ksh30.5 billion six times the value of imports (Ksh4.8 billion). The exports increased at an annual rate of 14.3 % from Ksh3.9 billion in 2006 to Ksh6.8 billion in 2010 while imports increased at a rate of 26.2% from Ksh0.6 billion in 2006 to Ksh1.4 billion in 2010.
The main market destinations for Kenya exports by value were Somalia (63%), Uganda (10%), Tanzania (8%) and South Africa (5%). Miraa accounted for more than 90% of exports to Somalia. Overall, Miraa is Kenya’s biggest export product in terms of value, followed by processed fruits and processed vegetables. In volume terms, processed fruits are the leading export product category followed by fresh vegetables and fresh fruits.
Processed fruits contributed 37.5% and 12.4% of the volume and value respectively of exports during the 5-year period. Kenya exported processed fruits worth Ksh3.8 billion, more than four times the value of imports (Ksh0.8 billion). Exports of processed fruits increased at a growth rate of 33% from Ksh0.4 billion in 2006 to Ksh1.2 billion in 2010.
Fresh Vegetables contributed 18% and 8.3% of the volume and value of exports respectively with a growth of more than 52% in value. During the period Kenya imported fresh vegetables worth Ksh1.1 billion compared to export worth Ksh2.5 billion indicating Kenya is a net exporter of fresh vegetables.
Fresh fruits contributed 16.5% and 1.2% of the volume and value of exports respectively, with a growth rate of 7.7% in value. During the review period, Kenya imported products worth Ksh0.5 billion and exported products worth Ksh4.7 billion.
Flowers contributed 3.8 and 8.3 of the volume and value of exports respectively, with a 13.5% CGR in value. In the flowers sub-category, cut flowers comprised the main export product accounting for 60.2 % of which 58.3% of the volume was exported to South Africa. Kenya is a net exporter of flowers to the region in both value and volume.
Miraa contributed 13.7% and 54% of the volume and value exports respectively with a growth rate of 9.7% in value. Somalia was the main export destination with new market opportunities in Mozambique among others. Total export value was Ksh16.5 billion.
Kenya’s exports of fruit juice are strong and growing. It is probably the market in East Africa and could become dominant in Africa markets. Export of fresh passion fruits to Uganda and fresh mango to Tanzania have increased significantly over the past three years due to favorable climatic conditions and suitable varieties. Kenya is well positioned to expand the production of the three main fruits – mangoes, pineapples and passion fruit and thus a market competitiveness study of the African market for Kenya processed fruit products is recommended.
Exports of specific fresh vegetable products (eg Carrots to Uganda, Asian vegetables to South Africa and possibly recent sales of high value mixed vegetable packs) have gradually increased since 2006. Kenya may be able to transfer its strong skills in global exports of high quality fresh produce to the increasingly affluent African markets. A market demand and competitiveness study is recommended to understand factors behind the increased exports with a view to facilitating enhanced investments and expansion in a sustainable manner.
Processed vegetable products were the highest value export category in 2010 but with the lowest growth rate over the five years. Further analysis of the contributing factors and investment particularly focusing on increasing the proportion of Kenyan-grown ingredients is required in this diverse of range vegetables to reverse the trend.
Potato imports from Tanzania appear to be increasing while production of potato in Kenya has declined and is attributed to lack of clean panting materials due to bacterial wilt. Irish potato
is the second most important food crop after maize in Kenya. However there are areas in which can used for clean seed production. It is important to critically examine the potato value chain to determine factors that can spur increased production.
This study has shown that collection and analysis of market data can identify new opportunities for increasing Kenya’s exports of horticultural products. Improvements have been made to the national market information systems in recent years but more work is needed, improved data collection/management and market analysis will identify new opportunities that can contribute to the development of a coherent strategy for growth of the industry. This may include determination the cost of production for various horticultural products.