Fresh produce export volumes at Eldoret airport rise ten-fold

Eldoret Airport in Uasin Gishu County. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Direct export of fresh produce from Eldoret International Airport to European markets has increased ten-fold, eight months after it was launched.

Freight volumes of exports to Belgium and the Netherlands have increased to an average between 40 tonnes and 50 tonnes per week, from about five tonnes in November last year, when the airport started the exports.

The airport’s manager Walter Agong’ said the facility can export up to 150 tonnes of fresh produce.

The market has also expanded to the Middle East.

Mr Agong’ urged farmers in the region to continue embracing commercial farming and horticulture for the export market to get good returns and boost the regional economy.

“The airport as it was envisaged is ready and will always support the export of fresh produce,” Mr Agong’ said.

“We are encouraging farmers to continue producing more so that we can be able to fill the planes and meet the demand. We have been concentrating on imports but it is time we diversified and focused on exports.”

He said the airport generated Sh2.2 billion in revenue through imports in the last financial year.

About 12 million tonnes of cargo were imported through the airport by 287 flights.

“What we are encouraging is that those 287 flights should not leave Eldoret empty when we have fresh produce in this region,” Agong’ said.

Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya Chief Executive Okisegere Ojepat said the consortium has been diversifying exports out of Nairobi to other airports and urged farmers in the region to consider using the airport.