The demand for Kenya’s flowers in the export market has recovered to 97 per cent, boosted by spending during the valentine’s period, this is according to a survey on flower farms conducted by the Central Bank of Kenya’s Monetary Policy Committee.
The MPC said the survey was conducted between March 15 and 17 to gauge the scale of recovery in the flower sector. The results of the survey revealed an increase of 44 per cent in demand over the last year from 53 per cent in April 2020 at the height of the pandemic when reduced airfreight capacity and lockdowns in crucial European markets hurt Kenyan flower sales.
The central bank also revealed that some flower farms reported strong export orders amid the uncertainty brought about by the third wave of the virus and new lockdowns in key export markets in Europe.
“The average orders for the next four months (April- July 2021) were about 97 per cent of the normal (pre- COVID-19) levels,” CBK said in a statement, adding that employment in flower farms has recovered and exceeded the pre-COVID-19 levels.
“Employment averaged 120 per cent in March 2021 up from 113 per cent and 97 per cent in January and November, respectively, relative to the February 2020 levels; Production and export levels of flowers have improved to an average of 93 per cent and 97 per cent, respectively, of pre-COVID-19 levels (February 2020);” Read the report in part.
Few weeks after the pandemic began, restrictions on international flights saw Kenyan flower exports to key markets fell drastically as European markets closed borders and enforced social gathering restrictions.
However, Kenya’s export of cut flowers rose steadily after the easing of lockdowns in Europe to hit 14,480.22 MT according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
The CEO of Kenya Flower Council, Clement Tulezi, in February said flower producers were receiving orders but lack enough freight. Kenya is now relying on assistance from Ethiopian Airlines for additional freighters on the Nairobi-Amsterdam route to ease capacity constraints.
Contribution of cut flowers to Economy
Kenya is the world’s third-largest exporter of cut flowers, and the country sells more than 70 per cent of its flowers to Europe. The horticultural sector is Kenya’s third-largest foreign exchange earner. Horticulture sector earnings are the third-largest contributors of foreign exchange in Kenya, after diaspora remittances and income from tourism.