Boost For Kenyan Flower Growers as UK Suspends Tariffs

Rose Main

Great news for Kenyan flower farmer as The United Kingdom has decided to suspend export tariffs for cut flowers, giving a big boost to Kenya’s flower sub-sector. This move aims to make trade easier and cheaper for growers in East Africa and beyond.

As of today April 2024, unlimited quantities of flowers can be exported to the UK at a 0% tariff, even if they pass through a third country. This is especially beneficial for flower growers in East Africa who often transport their blooms through third countries or auction houses in the Netherlands before reaching the UK.

The UK government mentioned that this step is to enhance trade and strengthen the economic ties between the UK and the region. It’s not just good news for the growers; UK consumers could also benefit from better prices, a wider variety, and flowers being available throughout the year.

This duty suspension will last for two years, from April 11, 2024, to June 30, 2026. John Humphrey, the UK Trade Commissioner for Africa, expressed optimism, saying, “The UK’s relationship with East Africa is built on mutually beneficial trade. This additional flower power will allow trade to bloom, showing the UK’s commitment to expanding trade in East Africa.”

In 2022, Kenya was ranked as the world’s fourth-largest exporter of cut flowers, contributing 6% of global cut-flower exports. Ethiopia, on the other hand, is the second-largest cut flower producer in Africa, making up 23% of Sub-Saharan African exports.

This move by the UK follows Kenya’s recent major deal with the European Union, granting duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market. This deal, signed earlier this year, will significantly benefit Kenya’s exports to its biggest market, which accounts for about one-fifth of all its exports.

The EU is Kenya’s second-largest trading partner, with total trade reaching €3.3 billion (Sh545 billion) in 2022, marking a 27% increase from 2018. While Kenya’s main exports to the EU include agricultural products like vegetables, fruits, tea, and coffee, over 70% of Kenyan flowers are sold in the European Union through the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Valentine’s season is a big sales period for Kenyan flower farms, with about 40% of their annual sales to European markets happening during this time. Despite Valentine’s Day being on February 14, the shipping of flowers to European markets starts as early as mid-January.

In 2021 alone, Kenya’s flower sector generated sales worth Sh110 billion, showcasing the significant impact of this industry on the country’s economy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *