Nairobi — Kenya's fresh produce sector remained resilient amid political and economic uncertainties of 2017 to grow earnings by 11 per cent to Sh115.25 billion.
The data released by the Fresh Produce Consortium Kenya showed flower exports was the largest earner contributing Sh82.24 billion up from Sh70.83 billion earned in 2016, representing 11.6 per cent growth on export volume of 159,961 tonnes.
Fruits and vegetables earned Sh9 billion and Sh24 billion, on export volumes of 56,945 tonnes and 87,240 tonnes respectively.
Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya Chief Executive Officer Okesegere Ojepat says despite the growth the sector continues to face challenges that include lack of traceability of system for the fresh produce, high cost of production, lack of extension services, poor information follow, brokers/middlemen menace, insufficient cooling facilities, weak compliance to food safety requirements, and taxation issues.
"Going forward FPC Kenya will focus on ensuring proper representation, lobbying and advocacy for its members, capacity building, food safety, food and nutritional security, food loss and waste, and trade, which we believe will enable us expand the fresh produce sector in terms of production capacity and earnings," he said.
Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya is the industry's leading trade association committed to driving the growth and success of produce companies and their partners.
Currently, the consortium has 107 members drawn from exporters, suppliers to both export and domestic markets, laboratories, agro chemical companies, agricultural consultants, financial institutions and associations in the agricultural/horticulture Industry.
"We laud the resilience of the fresh produce sector in the eye of the political and economic storm witnessed in 2017 and we are happy with the performance. This is the similar resilience that enabled the sector weather the Brexit shock, pointing to the greater potential of the sector," said Ojepat.