Government is urging Kenyan exporters to rebrand their products to increase value addition in efforts to increase Kenyans export portfolio in the UK.
Kenya’s share of exports to the UK is declining owing to stiff competition from Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Cote D’Ivoire buoyed by wages, marketing strategies and standards compliance.
High value horticulture which includes fresh vegetables, flowers and fruits and beverages like coffee and tea account for 90% of total Kenyan exports to the UK.
However lack of product diversification has reduced Kenya’s export competitiveness and given rise to significant competition from other countries like Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Cote D’Ivoire.
Ethiopia has capitalized on wages, while Cote D’Ivoire has leveraged on fair-trade in coffee to gradually bite into Kenya’s market share in the UK.
UK’s share in exports fell from 16%in 2001 to 7%by 2014, as vegetables and flowers lost competitiveness to countries such as Rwanda and Ethiopia.
The move is expected to counter competition, boost product diversification as well as increase market access.
Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo further urged stakeholders to leverage on the current trade agreements to increase their export portfolios.
He further urged to ensure high standards for their products especially beans, where Kenya in unable to comply with EU minimum residue limit requirements.
Plans are underway to negotiate better trade agreements once Brexit is complete by January 2019.
Kenya accounts for 26% of cut roses and 61% black tea, and 49% beans in UK, with UK accounting for 40% foreign direct investments in Kenya.