Fresh produce and Horticulture exporters have lauded the government’s efforts in signing an Economic Partnership Agreement with the United Kingdom ahead of the country’s exit from the European Union by the end of 2020.
The consortium made up of flower growers and farmers of various produce for export say the deal will save them up to 8% in taxes and levies as their goods access the European market.
On 3rd November 2020, Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Mania announced the commencement of talks that will see UK-Kenya Free Trade Agreement realized to expand trade between the two countries.
Kenya volume of trade with the UK is currently valued at Kshs 200 billion annually in which imports comprise of vehicles, pharmaceuticals and paper, while exports are dominated by coffee, tea, vegetables and flowers.
Under the deal, Kenya’s fresh produce exporters will continue enjoying duty-free-quota access to the UK after it leaves the European Union on December 31st 2020.
That marked the first phase of trading and investment agreements between the two countries with the second phase scheduled to take place at the end of the year.
Speaking during the signing of the horticulture sector Integrated Marketing Communication Strategy, industry players said that despite the deal, there is still need to build local infrastructure in preparation for the move in order to add value to export products.
The strategy by KEPROBA is expected to help Kenya achieve a 10% export growth with focus on the EU, UK, Australia, China, UAE, Russia and USA.
“As an agency, we can only rely on the producers since our role is to facilitate exports growth in the targeted and emerging markets,” said Wilfred Marube, KEPROBA chief executive.
At the same time, recent reports from the Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Council show that accessing foreign markets still pose a challenge to local producers owing to poor marketing and market knowledge even before the COVID-19 disruptions.
The current provisional trade data up to August 2020 shows Kenya’s exports were valued at 34.9 billion shillings while imports are valued at Kshs 18.9 billion with a trade balance of Kshs 15.9 billion being in Kenya’s favour.
Last year, horticulture export accounted for 19% of total exports according to figures by KEPROBA.