Kenya's farm products exporters lose 11 mln USD in 2014
19 January 2015, 08:28
Naivasha - Exporters of farm products in Kenya lost close to 11 million U.S. dollars last year before the government finally signed the Economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the European Union, officials said on Sunday.
The losses were incurred during a period of three months when negotiations for the agreement were taking place, said Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei when he led government officials in a tour at local flower farms in Naivasha.
The CS said the taxes slapped on exporters forced them to cut down their operational costs with hundreds of Kenyans losing their jobs.
He noted that the flower industry was hit hard, adding that the government had moved in to addressing the challenges facing the sector. "We are happy that the EPA issue was sorted out and we are working on ways of addressing the challenges facing the horticulture sector," the official said.
He said the sector played a critical role in the economy of the country, noting that the government had created a conducive environment for players in the industry to conduct their business.
Also read: EU to lift export taxes on Kenyan flowers in time for Valentine's
"This is a sector that contributes 437 million U.S. dollars to the GDP, and thousands of Kenyans depend on it directly or indirectly and hence cannot be ignored," he said, adding that some Kenyan flower companies had diversified their markets to other continents as opposed to the reliance on European region.
Kenya Flower council CEO Jane Ngige said they were discussing with the government over a possibility of refunds for the losses incurred before the EPA was signed.
"Exporters were losing 3.2 million dollars, with flower farmers losing 1.6 million dollars per month before the agreement was signed," she said, adding they had submitted their reports to the government to see whether the deal could be actualized and save farmers' losses.
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