Kenyan horticultural exporters have now turned to virtual marketing in a bid to boost sales amid Covid-19 restrictions.
Through a virtual exhibition dubbed “macfruits”, which is facilitated by the Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency in partnership with the SheTrades Commonwealth programme, they are able to showcase their products to potential buyers in Italy. "As an agency charged with the promotion of Kenyan exports in the global markets, we have had to relook at our promotion models and take advantage of information technology to ensure that we deliver on our mandate," said the agency Chief Executive Wilfred Marube.
"Export promotion is not just about exhibiting. It is also about offering A-Z support to exporters and linking them to markets, and this is exactly what we have done here," he added.
While Covid-19 has hit virtually every sector of the economy, the country's export market has remained stable attributed to the government’s move to allow the export of goods during the pandemic. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the total value of exports for the first seven months of the year to July stood at Sh206 billion, four per cent higher than a similar period last year.
Exports to Uganda and Tanzania, two of Kenya's major export markets in the region, remained unchanged compared to last year, with total exports to July standing at Sh30.5 billion and Sh15 billion respectively.
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Through the sponsorship of macfruits, local exporters visited Italy last year, clinching $16 million (Sh1.7 billion) in trade deals.
"While we recognise there is no substitution for human interaction in business, it is important to maintain the relationship between our exporters and the potential buyers," said SheTrades National Consultant Susan Wambugu.