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Kenyan revises horticulture earnings estimates

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 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.

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Nairobi – The Fresh Producers Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) represented by the Chief Executive, Dr. Stephen Mbithi, has signed a Grant Agreement with Jose Maciel, the Regional Trade and Integration Director at TradeMark East Africa (TMEA). “Fresh Producer Exporters Association of Kenya is excited about this partnership with TradeMark East Africa which is expected to improve the incomes and livelihoods of small scale horticulture farmers in East Africa. TradeMark will be a key partner as we build the capacity of horticulture farmers to raise their standards of quality and production that will lead to increased trade across East Africa, and enhanced international market access”. Said Dr. Stephen Mbithi. Under this project, the East Africa Good Agricultural Practice standards (EAGAP) will aim to achieve globally recognized good agricultural practices (GLOBALGAP), but taking into account circumstances prevailing among local small holder farmers in terms of local value chain structures, available capacities and resources, agronomic cultures and ecological conditions. Training materials will be developed to target growers in the wider East African region. The East African horticulture industry has been one of the most dynamic sectors of the region’s economy over the last 10 years. In Kenya alone its current annual value now exceeds 2 billion USD, with exports alone earning an average of 1 billion USD per annum in the past three years. In the past, GLOBALGAP (formerly EUREPGAP) has been the industry code of practice accepted by supermarket retailers in Europe and around the world. The industry recognizes that this standard is too demanding for farmers targeting domestic markets, owing to the huge documentation required.
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