Kenyan fresh produce exporters train their eyes on the lucrative UAE market

Kenyan fresh produce exporters train their eyes on the lucrative UAE market

As Kenya looks to diversify its export destinations for horticultural produce from the traditional European Union market, the United Arab Emirates is emerging as a lucrative market thanks to the growing appetite for flowers and fresh producers by its consumers. From lavish lifestyles, health-conscious consumers and a booming hospitality industry, the UAE’s appetite for Kenyan produce has reached fever pitch and Kenyan exporters are positioning themselves to sate this demand.

Most of the exporters who have captured this market say that they are keen to grow it because it has less restrictions compared to the traditional markets.

“The United Arab Emirates market remains very lucrative and we have had our focus there for some time. It is market where demand has shored up in unprecedented rates and we are keen on growing our numbers there especially as part of our diversification plan,” said Sharon Kobuzare, the Sales Manager at Bella Flowers.

Ranges Farm in Kajiado County that is involved in sale of summer flowers, carnations and roses has enjoyed good business in the UAE market from the first order it received through referral. According to the company, the insatiable demand by both retail and wholesale clients, coupled with the smooth process in the delivery of the flowers has enticed the farm to concentrate on the market.
“While we have a variety of markets we target and focus on in Europe and Africa, Middle East remains one of the most lucrative and where we cannot meet the demand. In our expansion plans, we are therefore keen on tapping into this market and looking at ways in which we can solidify our presence there,” said Connie Muthee, the Director at Ranges Farm.

Since July, Kenya and UAE have been negotiating for a trade deal under the United Arab Emirates-Kenya Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (UAEK-CEPA) in a bid to grow the volume of trade in goods, services and investments. The deal will Kenyan agricultural products among them potatoes and coconuts easily access the market.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the main market for Kenya in the greater Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market that is comprised of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. Kenya and United Arab Emirates have a signed a double-taxation avoidance agreement that exempts taxation for national carriers from UAE.

“The UAE-Kenya CEPA will be the first bilateral trade deal that the UAE seeks to sign with an African nation. Such an agreement will deepen trade and investment ties between Africa and the Middle East and boost the total value of UAE-Kenya non-oil bilateral trade, which grew to US$ 2.3 billion last year. Through the CEPA, the UAE and Kenya aim to remove trade barriers on a wide range of goods and services, creating new opportunities for imports and exporters in both countries, and enabling Kenyan companies to leverage the value of the UAE’s geographic and logistical position,” read a statement after Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Betty Maina, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, signed a joint statement announcing the intention to begin negotiations towards a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

Dubai remains as a vital gateway for trade between Kenya and the world with the country exporting fruits, flowers, fresh produce and tea along the strategic commercial and trading hub.
Last year, logistics firm DP World launched, a global wholesale e-commerce platform in Kenya. The UAE-based innovative online marketplace is meant to unlock access to global markets for Kenyan businesses.

The platform enables Kenyan SMEs to import and export seamlessly to Dubai and the rest of the Gulf countries including Turkey and India, thereby omitting costly middlemen and increasing profit for the businesses.

The platform has features to avail timely regulatory information, alerts, notifications and any other changes taking place at the border that will be of relevant to traders in order to ensure that their border transactions are not affected.

“This platform is part of the digital economy blueprint that will embrace new technological and logistical innovations that will enable Kenya’s and Africa’s ability to leapfrog economic growth for sustainable development,” said Cabinet Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development David Osiany during the launch of the platform.

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