Inside Politics

Kenya’s sisal export earnings hit Sh1.2b as markets recover

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021 00:00 |
Sisal farming.

PANDEMIC: Kenya’s exports of sisal and avocados surged in the first quarter of 2021 as international economies re-open after Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.

Sisal exports, for instance, soared during the period to hit $11.1 million (Sh1.2 billion) amid rise in global prices, according to Fibre Crops Directorate.

Kenya exported 7,687.6 metric tonnes  (MT) of sisal during the period, the highest export volumes compared to previous periods, it said. In January, 2,745 MT of sisal were exported, 2,194 MT in February while March recorded 2,747 MT. 

“In comparison to the previous year during the same period, prices have increased in the current period by an average of 6 per cent,”  the agency said in a statement released in Nairobi. 

The significant increase in price, it added, could be attributed to the fact that in the previous period, jitters caused in the market due to the Covid-19 pandemic have since normalised in most destinations.

“Thus, most of the export destinations have learnt how to cope with the pandemic, hence the vibrancy of the market indicated by the rising prices,” it said.

During the period under review, sisal fibre was exported to 23 destinations with Nigeria being the leading with 2,503.50 MT, representing a 33 per cent market share. 

Other top destinations with their market share were Ghana (9 per cent), China (9 per cent), Spain (9 per cent) and Morocco (8 per cent) respectively. 

Exports of avocados

Benjamin Tito, director of Horticultural Crops Directorate said exports of avocados hit 26,000 tonnes between January and March compared to 15,000 tonnes registered in a similar period in 2020.

He told Xinhua via phone that the main markets are Europe and the Middle East region.

“The key driver for expanding exports is increased demand of Kenyan avocado which is equatorially grown and hence the flavor, oil content and dry matter are well developed,” Tito said. 

Data from the Ministry of Agriculture show that avocado is the most important fruit for export to the east African nation. 

Tito noted that Kenyan farmers have embraced avocado due to increasing foreign demand. 

He observed that there has been an increase in area under cultivation and a shift from the traditional avocado growing zones to the Rift Valley and parts of Western Kenya. –Xinhua

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