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Govt urged to sign deal for duty free flower export

12 February 2015, 08:10

Naivasha - European Union (EU) ambassador to Kenya Lodewijk Briet has urged the Kenyan government to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the EU in time so as to benefit fully from duty free exports to the European market.

According to EU statistics, Kenya's flower sector earned 495 million U.S. dollars in sales of roses exported to Europe last year, which contributed to 30 percent of the total exports to the European market during the same period.

Still, EU ambassador to Kenya Lodewijk Briet said this was a drop as Kenya delayed signing the EPAs negotiated between the EU and Africa last year.

"The delay which took three months to complete had a huge impact on the sales of exported Kenyan flowers," he said.

"The deadline for ratification is October 2016, and we need Kenya to sign the agreement in time so as to avoid the last minute rush," the ambassador said.

Kenya is one of the high class flower exporters in the world. The East African nation supplies flowers mainly to European countries including Holland, Britain, Germany, France and Switzerland.

Also read: Flower farmers upbeat ahead of Valentine

"As we will embrace Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Father's Day, we expect better sales in Europe," said Kenya Flower Council (KFC) Chairman Richard Fox Wednesday during a visit to Naivasha, Kenya's largest cut flower center, along with a EU delegation ahead of Valentine's Day.

Fox said they expected flower sales in Europe in the next four months to increase by 40 percent and out-number those of last year.

According to industry data, flower sector in Kenya employs over 500,000 people both directly and indirectly, and supports the livelihood of over two million households.

However, the global flower industry is dynamic and Kenyans have to work hard to ensure we maintain a competitive edge, Fox said.

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- Xinhua


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