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Flower exporters see rosier times ahead as demand starts to pick

By Antony Gitonga | May 28th 2020

The Kenya Flower Council (KFC) projects that it will take a year for the floriculture sector to recover following financial losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the council, the sector has incurred heavy losses due to ongoing lockdowns in key European markets and the collapse of the Dutch Auction.

This came amid reports that flower exports had risen from 20 per cent in April to 65 per cent this month as some of the countries adversely affected by the pandemic started reopening.

KFC Chief Executive Clement Tulezi said the sector had started to recover despite emerging challenges like lack of flights and high flight charges.

Mr Tulezi said they expected exports to rise by 80 per cent by the end of this year as various EU countries continue to relax their lockdown regulations.

“The floriculture was adversely affected by the pandemic, and we estimate that shall fully recover by June 2021 if the government fully supports us,” he said.

On availability of flights, the CEO admitted that it remains one of the major challenges for flower exporters and called urged the government to provide cargo planes. “Currently our weekly demand is 2,800 tonnes per week, but we can only export 1,000 tonnes due to lack of flights and the high charges,” he said.

Tulezi at the same time hit out at the State for what the said was the politicisation of VAT refunds at a time when flower farmers are grappling with ways of raising funds to resuscitate their businesses. He said the farmers, who are owed Sh4.2 billion, are yet to get a penny of the money two months since President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that Sh10 billion had been set aside for tax refunds.

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