Fresh fruits
Fresh fruits

Kenya will hold an international exhibition for fruits and vegetables next month, industry and government officials announced on Tuesday.

“Buyers from across the world have confirmed that they will be attending the exhibition to be held on June 5-7 in the capital Nairobi,” said Dick Van Raamsdonk, chief executive officer of the International Flower Trade Exhibition (IFTEX).

“It is the first time this is happening in the world that buyers of fruits and vegetables are coming to meet the producers,” he said. “Normally, it is the producers who go to meet the buyers.”

Kenya is a leader in horticulture farming but has been concentrating much on flowers, which it mainly exports to Europe, according to the Kenya Flower Council (KFC).

The country is seeking to upgrade its production of fruits and vegetables and use the flower industry infrastructure to export its produce, said KFC CEO Clement Tulezi.

The idea, Tulezi said, is to enable the majority of fruits and vegetable farmers to also gain from the popularity of Kenya’s fresh produce in foreign markets.

Data from the council indicates that while 70 percent of flowers are produced by medium and large-scale farmers, the opposite is true for vegetables and fruits, with 70 percent of the small-scale farmers growing the produce.

“The industry is attracting more and more small holder farmers and we want to make sure that they also benefit,” Tulezi said.

KFC data shows that the horticulture sector in Kenya directly employs 100,000 people, mainly in flower farms, and that 2.2 million Kenyans derive their livelihood from the sector.

Kenya commands 38 percent of the horticulture market in Europe and has emerged as the dominant exporter to Japan and Australia, Tulezi said.

“We are making inroads to China, Russia, America and the Middle East,” he said.

Tulezi said direct flights between Kenya and U.S, which are set to start this October, will provide a major incentive to expand for Kenya horticulture farmers.
Kenya now exports horticulture produce to more than 60 countries in the world, he said.

The number of companies licensed to export horticulture produce has grown from 284 in 2014 to 386 in 2017, Tulezi said. Enditem

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