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Kenyan fresh produce exporters seek better deals amid Brexit fears

FINANCIAL STANDARD
By Philip Mwakio | October 27th 2020
Avocados from Avoveg Limited, a company that deals with processing and export of horticultural produce. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Traders in fresh produce have intensified efforts to improve export channels to the international markets.

Other than the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, the dealers are seeking to increase the volumes of exports through the Port of Mombasa and the Moi International Airport, Mombasa.

The dealers, who toured various export outlets and met several stakeholders in the export chain in Mombasa, expressed satisfaction with the ongoing upgrading of the Moi International Airport and the preparedness of the Mombasa port to handle bulkier volumes of horticultural exports.

At the same time, traders urged the government to expedite negotiations and signing of trade agreements with the United Kingdom before the January 1, 2021 Brexit date when the UK will officially leave the European Union.

They noted that this is the only way to avoid Kenyan fresh produce that enjoys duty-free treatment in the UK from being slapped with huge duty that will render it uncompetitive in the international market.

The team, which comprised officials from the Kenya Flower Council (KFC), Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya, Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya and Horticultural Crops Directorate, Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) and Kenya Airways (KQ), also toured laboratories and testing centres of food and logistics.

“There is a lot of potential for horticultural produce export in the Coast, and we want to tap into this potential. We have seen for ourselves, for example, that the port of Mombasa can handle whatever volumes that can be made available,” said KFC Chief Executive Clement Tulezi. The two-day meeting was supported by TradeMark East Africa to increase access to the international markets of Kenya’s fresh produce.  

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