Kenya seeks bigger piece of UK fresh produce market

Kenya’s High Commissioner to the UK Manoah Esipisu. [PSCU, Standard]

Kenya's fresh produce exporters have been urged to take advantage of the Kenya-UK economic partnership that was signed in January 2020 to increase their market share in Britain's imports.

Kenya’s High Commissioner to the UK Manoah Esipisu said Kenya is committed to making sure the partnership bears fruit.

“We think we have done all the right things in Kenya to sustain a level of commitment to building what is necessary to foster growth to build our infrastructure, to continue to work on our ICT, our tourism infrastructure, and committing to work on value addition,” he said during a Kenya-UK trade forum in London on Monday.

Participants at the forum organised by Bramex Logistics and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) discussed the various opportunities in the economic partnership.

Statistics indicate that Kenya’s exports to the UK stood at about Sh49.5 billion. Of these, 43 per cent comprised vegetables and nine per cent were flowers.

Despite the UK being Kenya’s fifth top export destination – after Uganda, Pakistan, the US and The Netherlands – a report by Oversees Development Institute (ODI) said trade between the two nations remains relatively stagnant.

KNCCI chief executive, Mombasa Chapter, James Kitavi said the UK has been one of Kenya’s strongest trading partners.

“We need to access a larger share of this market in terms of fresh produce and what that means is that it translates to earning of foreign exchange," he said.

"We need to ensure that we push many products or facilitate trade to happen between Kenya and UK so that we can increase the revenue earned in this particular relationship.”

Mr Kitavi said there are various products that can now access the UK market duty-free after Brexit.

The forum coincided with political transitions in both Kenya and the UK.

Robin George, a partner and associate director at Boston Consulting Group that works closely with the UK government in implementing specific trade projects, said Britain is a competitive market that wants quality at the lowest price possible.

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