Kenyan revises horticulture earnings estimates

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Kenya’s peak horticultural body has revised down export estimates from Ksh115 billion (US$1.23 billion) to Ksh84 billion (US$905.2 million) for 2011 due to economic problems in the U.S. and Europe, Reuters reported.

Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya CEO Stephen Mbithi, told Reuters the euro zone crisis led to cuts in earnings growth forecasts from 15% to 8%.

Despite the downgrade, export forecasts are still higher than last year’s figure of Ksh78 billion (US$839.8 million).

Commercial Bank of Africa head of trading Duncan Kinuthia told the media organization the fall would lower currency inflows, with the shilling already down 15% against the dollar this year.

“Nothing is supporting the local unit right now. Even news from the horticulture sector shows a dip of almost 50 percent, so in terms of inflows we are impacted,” Kinuthia was quoted as saying.

Mbithi said the East African country now needed to look to new markets like the Middle East, the Far East, Eastern Europe and the Americas, the story reported.

Earlier this year Mbithi told www.freshfruitportal.com around 20% of horticultural exports were fruits and vegetables, with avocadoes, mangoes and passion fruit as the main fruit products. France is Kenya’s largest fruit market.