Flower Exports Plunge During the Pandemic But Fruits Flourish
Kevin Namunwa  |  Aug 11, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a drop in revenue gained from flower exports in Kenya as the supply chain was disrupted.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows that the value of cut-flowers dropped to Ksh 6.254 billion in May compared to a whooping Ksh 9.384 billion recorded in the same period last year.

Exporters found it difficult to carry on with operations after restrictions were put in place to curb the spread of the virus.

The data from KNBS shows that the quantity of exported cut-flower dropped to 10,215.07 metric tonnes in May 2020 from 15, 337.77 metric tonnes in the previous year.

Coronavirus was first recorded in the country in March and travel restrictions were put in place almost immediately. Companies recorded a 40% drop in orders in March amid cancellation of orders and travel restrictions.

More than 30,000 temporary workers were also sent on forced leave after companies started struggling to meet their wages. Kenya Flower Council chief executive, Clement Tulezi, said in March predicted that half of the workforce in the companies would be trimmed.

“Only 50 percent of our nationwide workforce is currently working with the percentage expected to plummet to 25 percent in the coming two to three weeks,” he said.

While earnings from cut-flower plummeted because of the pandemic, the value of exported fruits went up from Ksh1.152 billion to Ksh 5.642 billion during the same period. The data from KNBS shows that the quantity of fruits exported went up from 8, 915.71 metric tonnes to 13, 492.24 metric tonnes during the same period.

Kenya’s earnings from horticulture exports including flowers, fruits, and vegetables, fell 7 percent in 2019 to Sh142.72 billion from Sh154.7 billion, mainly due to lower prices of flowers at the auction in the Netherlands.