The volume and value of flower exports remained stable during the period. This was as a result of the relative stability of the Kenyan shilling and market diversification to East Asian markets following the recent launch of direct flights to South Korea. The flights, by national carrier Kenya Airways, are expected to give flower farmers direct access to the East Asia market, by-passing the European and Dubai flower auctions (which have limited the penetration to East Asia) and boosting the sector with increased flower sales. The Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA) managing director Alfred Serem said the new markets in South Korea and Japan are expected to account for between five and ten percent of the flower exports, potentially helping the country bridge the imbalance in trade that is currently heavily tilted in favor of the Asian economic powers.
Earnings from fresh vegetable exports between March and April decreased by 20.4 percent in value and 4.5 percent in volume compared to a similar period in 2012. This drop is attributed to the substantial decrease in export volumes for fresh beans and Asian vegetables, which form the bulk of vegetables export to the European Union.
The volume and value of fresh beans exports during the period decreased by 27 percent and 26.3 percent respectively, while that of Asian vegetables continued on a decreasing trend at 41.6 percent and 34.9 percent respectively. The decrease is attributed to increasing costs of production in Kenya, knocking out exporters due to reduced margins.
Other leguminous vegetables registered substantial improvement in volume and value but prices were nine percent lower than the same period in 2011. The main market was the UK, accounting for 72 percent of the volume.
Overall, the volume and value of fresh fruit exports between March and April increased by 10.4 percent and 11.9 percent respectively (Table 3). Avocado volume and value increased by 26.7 percent and 31.4 percent respectively. According to FruiTrop, the market for Hass avocadoes was excellent in March, with prices and volumes increasing for the third month running. Supply to the European market was fairly substantial in spite of limited arrivals of green varieties. However, the market remained very tense and even under-supplied at the end of March, proof of strongly growing sales on some markets. Prices firmed, with the monthly averages reaching levels previously unseen for Hass in March.