The County Government of Nakuru plans to strengthen its collaboration with the United Kingdom to guarantee continued market access for Kenya’s horticultural products, against the background of COVID-19 challenges.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui noted that Nakuru was the leading producer of herbs, spices, cut flowers and vegetables, adding that over 3 million Kenyans were directly involved in growing and processing the horticultural products.
Speaking at the County Headquarters in Nakuru after holding talks with United Kingdom High Commissioner to Kenya Ms Jane Marriott, the governor stated that despite Covid-19 disruptions the UK market accounts for 43% of total exports of vegetables from Kenya as well as at least 9% of cut flowers.
Kinyanjui said as the largest economy in East Africa and among the top 10 in the continent, Kenya was an important trading partner for the UK.
The governor noted that increased access to the UK export market by hundreds of small holder farmers who had ventured into avocado farming would improve livelihoods and increase incomes for thousands of rural households within the devolved unit.
Kinyanjui assured that his administration had dispatched agriculture extension officers to train youthful horticultural farmers on the mandatory standards their produce is expected to meet in the European Union (EU) and other export markets.
He observed that a significant proportion of young farmers in the county eyeing international markets, were now aware of post-harvest treatment requirements and standards set by the EU and other marketing agencies.
Naivasha sub-county he added was at the heart of the nation’s floriculture industry, accounting to over 50% of the country’s cut flower exports valued at over Kshs. 30 billion while vegetables grown in the region contribute approximately Kshs. 6.65 billion to the Kenyan economy.
Ms Marriott observed that The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the UK and Kenya signed in December last year focuses on facilitating trade in goods, providing Kenya with duty-free and quota-free access to the UK market.
She called on Kenya to ride on the deal with the UK to grow its exports, which are largely agricultural produce.
The country is the UK’s 73rd-largest trading partner, accounting for 0.1% of total UK trade
Ms Marriott said the UK is Kenya’s second most important export destination for tea, coffee and horticultural products, with the country accounting for 27% of the fresh produce and 56% of the black tea market in the UK.
She added that the UK was the largest source market for Kenya’s tourism.
On the other hand, she noted motor vehicles, printed materials, machinery and chemicals form the bulk of imports from the United Kingdom.