The ongoing Russia Ukraine conflict has affected Kenya’s exports of fresh produce including tea, coffee, flowers and fruits, according to role players in the industry.
This follows a ban on cargo shipments to and from Russia, as well European Union and US sanctions that include excluding Russia from the international payment system, Swift.
Isinya Roses Marketing Manager, Anath Kumar says, “We have quite some orders that have slowed down, some orders have been cancelled almost like 30% of our orders were for Russia it has come down to 10% now in a week, which is affecting our cash flow, at the same time we cannot supply neighbouring countries due to the borders which have been blocked by other EU countries.”
As the conflict enters its third month, growers like Isinya Roses continue to count their losses. Each week the farm discards at least 10,000 stems of what that market fails to absorb. Still reeling from the effects of the prolonged COVID-19 led lockdowns in its key markets, the industry foresees a longer recovery period.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics indicated that in general, the flower industry earned Kenya 952 US dollars last year.
Kumar says they are not able to transfer the money to in other overseas countries.
Also affected by the conflict are tea, coffee and fruits. Russia is the fifth largest consumer of Kenyan tea after Pakistan, Egypt, the UK and UAE.
Fresh Produoce Consortium of Kenya CEO, Okisegere Ojepat says, “Instead of planning like you would plan, we have opted not to place huge channels.”