KFC Chief Executive Jane Ngige said that this has been compounded by the entry of county governments which had doubled taxation adversely affecting farmers, making it more expensive to do business in the country.

Ngige said that they will relentlessly engage the national and county governments to seek ways of easing the burden of doing business in the country.

“We shall engage both governments to seek ways of eliminating the double taxation for the hardworking fraternity of breeders, propagators and other flower farmers,” she told journalists in Naivasha, about 90km northwest of Nairobi.

Ngige noted that though the sector was on a gradual rise, it faced various challenges which were affecting production and pointed out that the accumulation and delay in paying VAT refunds to farmers and the frequent fluctuation of currencies.

“The climate change with the rains being experienced more frequently has led to low production and also more pests and diseases,” she said.

Flower exports grew by 5 percent last year as the sector showed resurgence following the successful renewal of trade agreement with the European Union in late 2014.

Failure to renew on time the agreement with the trading bloc in 2014 hit the sector amid a weakening global economy.

Kenyan farmers had to grapple with introduction of taxes on their produce following the lapse of the Economic Partnership Agreement.

But things warmed up in 2015, with earnings from cut flowers rising by about 30.1 million U.S. dollars, latest figures from the Horticultural Directorate show.

East African nation in 2014 earned 593 million U.S. dollars, therefore, the growth to 623 million dollars in 2015 was a major boost to farmers in the country where big players dominate the trade.

Kenyan farmers exported up to 12,650 metric tonnes (MT) a month, a feat that was not achieved in 2014 and the past.

As the flower council marked 20 years, Ngige said that the country had made strides in flower farming noting that the country’s flower had gained reputation for its high quality.

She welcomed the revitalization of the Kenya Horticultural Council (KHC) saying that it would help augment the horticulture sector.

“The new association will help strengthen the horticulture industry and enhance market access globally,” she said.

Speaking earlier, George Onyango, a Human Resource Manager at Van Den Berg, a flower farm, called the national and county governments to urgently address the issue of lease.

Onyango noted that the issue was causing anxiety among many farmers as the 999 lease had expired with some counties wanting to take over the land.

Onyango at the same time noted that double taxation by counties was affecting flower farms with many suffering losses.

“Farmers by-passing one county to the other are being taxed twice and this is unfair practice that should be dealt with,” he said.

Kenya is one of the largest suppliers of cut flowers to the EU with a 31 percent market share. The major market is Netherlands at 69 percent, where Dutch wholesalers buy flowers for re-export to the U.S. and other nations.

Rise in cut flower exports to Netherlands has cemented the country’s position as the second top destination of East African nation goods. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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