NAIROBI, News that Kenya Airways is set to commence direct flights to the United States later this year has been warmly received by stakeholders in the local floriculture industry who say it will bring down the freight cost to send cut flowers to the US by three times as well as the time taken to reach the market.
Hopefully, this will result in Kenya improving its market share for cut flowers in the US from its current meagre one per cent, they say. The US market is presently dominated by Colombia and Ecuador.
They say that although Washington’s Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) affords Kenya and other qualified African countries duty-free access for some goods into the US market, the cut flower sub-sector, which is Kenya’s top foreign exchange earner, has remained under-exploited.
Key issues faced by Kenyan cut flower exporters have been the cost of freight, flight availability, internal regulations in the country of origin and the volume of flowers shipped. Air freight costs are a key factor limiting the success of cut flower exports to the US.
The air freight cost for cut flowers from Bogota, Colombia, to Miami is 1.10 US dollars per kilogramme, while Kenyan exporters have to pay three times more. While Kenya ranks as the world’s biggest exporter of roses to the European Union, commanding a 38 per cent market share, it is doing badly in the US market.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK