Kenyan Exporters Call for Marketing Strategy, Resources

Kenyan Exporters Call for Marketing Strategy, Resources

With exports from Kenya facing near stagnation, stakeholders are now asking the government for more funding to support initiatives that will boost exports. The Export Promotion Council, which brings together exporters and producers of export goods and services in Kenya, is calling on the Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism to take action to address exporters’ concerns.

The Council, through its Chief Executive Ruth Mwaniki, says the myriad challenges the sector faces have created an urgent need to solve these problems in order to boost performance. During the National Exporters Forum, a platform that seeks to bring together all the stakeholders in the export industry, some of these challenges were recently highlighted.

“Most agricultural produce, such as flowers and vegetables, are perishable. Quick delivery to airports is therefore essential. Some products such as eggs are highly fragile and a potholed road is not the best means of transport,” Grace Wanyoike, a local exporter said.

Export Performance and Increasing Costs

The country’s export performance depends largely on the efficiency of trade facilitation, transport and logistics.  One of the major causes of increased costs is the poor infrastructure network in the country, especially the road network. This, according to the exporters, is increasing costs of delivery of products from farms to airports. Most export enterprises are also faced with logistical and facilitation challenges, especially in African markets. This has greatly affected their performance.

High production costs are a major challenge, negatively affecting the competitiveness of  Kenyan products in the international arena.

Lack of storage for delicate perishable agricultural products has also led to a decline in exports. A shortage of warehouses and cold rooms for storage of goods greatly hampers the growth and proliferation of exports.

Most agricultural products require cold storage rooms, which are expensive to install. Consequently, the cold rooms also require electricity which is not available in most parts of the country especially the rural areas. The Council has called on the government to expand the electrification program especially in the villages where most of the industries are located as well as build sufficient warehouses for the products.

Inadequate financial support for export promotion is also an issue. Many exporters do not have access to credit facilities where they can get low interest loans to boost their businesses. This has greatly affected the industry’s growth and development. The Council pointed out that the current commercial bank interest rates were not favorable for the emerging industry.

Droughts and Over-reliance 

The severe droughts that the country frequently experiences are yet another major cause of the decline in agricultural exports. This, the exporters say, is attributed to the changing climatic conditions around the world.