November 2, 2013. Kenya’s horticultural sector sets to reap big time when Kenya airways start’s direct flights to Guangzhou, China’s third largest city and Hong Kong in mid November.
According to Dr Alfred Serem, the Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA) managing director, the move to introduce direct flights will see the cost of getting flowers to China drop. The decrease in transportation costs, Dr Serem says, will increase demand for Kenyan flowers in China as they will arrive in fresh condition, a result that will see Kenya’s market share in rise from the current five per cent to around ten per cent in China.
“Flower exports which currently have market share of about five per cent in China are likely to improve to 10 per cent,” says Serem.
Currently, flights to China from Kenya are linked through Dubai and Bangkok. Kenya airways targets to make three direct flights to China from mid November upon acquiring the Boeing 777 – 300ER. The Boeing, which will arrived in the Country in mid October, is set to make three non-stop flights between Nairobi and Guangzhou.
Kenya airways director Dr Titus Naikuni says the direct flights to China will be a way of opening up trade between the two regions and improving Sino – Africa relations.
“China has emerged as a key trading partner for Africa. Our direct flights to Guangzhou seek to build on this relationship in order to make a contribution towards sustainable development of Africa, which is in line with our core purpose as a company,” Dr Naikuni added.
Trade between Kenya and China in 2012 is approximated to be around US$200 billion. Currently, over 70 per cent of Kenya’s cut flowers are sold to EU market, but China is projected to be the new market for the bulk of Kenyan cut flowers.
By Mutuiri Gitonga