Flower exporters mull value addition as they eye new markets

KFC Chief Executive Clement Tulezi. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The United States, Malaysia and Korea are some of the new markets the Kenya Flower Council (KFC) is eyeing as it considers value addition to increase the competitiveness of local flowers.

KFC is also looking to make a comeback to the Chinese market, which is opening up after the long Covid-19 hiatus.

Besides the US, Malaysia and Korea, the lobby is also eyeing Australia and the United Arab Emirates.

KFC Chief Executive Clement Tulezi said apart from investing in technology to improve efficiencies and cut down operating costs, council members are also eyeing value addition.

"We are moving into the space of value addition where we can finish the bouquets from here ready to go to the end buyer," said Mr Tulezi.

"We are seeing this as an opportunity to create maybe another 20,000 jobs." He was speaking on the sidelines of the International Flower Trade Exhibition (IFTEX) that opened on Tuesday.

The exhibition brings together growers, exporters, buyers, policymakers, and industry lobbies, among other stakeholders.

A total of 165 exhibitors are taking part in the exhibition.

Tulezi said the sector, with government support, has the potential to create an additional 100,000 jobs. It currently employs about 200,000 people directly.

He, however, pointed out the need to address some of the bottlenecks hampering the growth of the sector, including increased costs of doing business such as freight charges, electricity and additional taxes.

"We are paying an average of 45 taxes, which is too much," said Mr Tulezi, adding that the government should offer tax holidays to spur the growth of the sector.

"As much as we growing, our worry is we are not hitting our maximum."

Tulezi said the sector has the potential to bring in Sh250 billion every year but only manages half of that.

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