Tea and horticulture are among the top export earners in Kenya and the government places a lot of premium on these sectors, out of Sh.612.9 b Kenya earned from her total exports in 2018, the Country made Sh.123.7b from tea exports alone.
The Principal Secretary (PS) State Department of Trade, Dr. Chris Kiptoo speaking on Sunday at James Finlay’s (JFK) in Kericho, said that from the earnings the tea industry alone contributed approximately 1.5 percent to the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the year ending 2018.
He said that, the horticultural sector contributed approximately 1.8 percent to the GDP in the same year earning the country Sh. 153.7b, accounting to 25 percent of the total exports in the same year.
The PS said that the country earned Sh. 113b from cut flowers alone accounting to 18 percent from the total exports in the Country.
Dr.Kiptoo said that the tremendous achievement were realized due to the efforts by the tea and horticultural exporters including the James Finlay’s Kenya (JFK) who have continuously ensured that the tea and horticultural industry and cut flowers brands remains internationally competitive.
The PS reiterated that the government is implementing various strategies and policy initiatives among them, the National Trade Policy, The Integrated National Export Development and Promotion Strategy (INEDPS) and the Agoa strategy, all aimed at increasing market access and diversifying exports from Kenya.
“INEDPS has prioritized Tea and Horticultural sectors as one of the key drivers in achieving its target of an average annual export growth of 25 percent by 2022 and has identified Strategic Objectives towards Development and promotion of Tea and Horticultural Exports,” the PS said.
Some of the objectives aimed at improving trade in its exports include provision of Business Enabling Environment, promotion of competitiveness of Kenya tea and horticultural exports in the domestic as well as international markets.
To achieve the above objectives, a national framework to co-ordinate value added tea exports/horticultural exports development has been established aimed at promotion of high quality value added tea and horticultural products.
Dr. Kiptoo commended JFK contribution, saying it is immense on matters development both economically and socially to the residents of Kericho County through the provision of basic needs such as employment, housing, education and health.
Finlays was established in 1750 in Scotland and set up operations in Kenya in 1925. Finlay processes 28 million kilograms of made tea annually. The company exports 130 million stems of cut flowers annually.
JFK employs about 9,000 people with various skills majority being manual skill workers. There are 14 primary schools and two secondary schools within JFK.
Every year the company plants approximately 10,000 trees. It sponsors 20 students to various secondary schools and another 28 students to various universities in the country.
By Dominic Cheres