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September 22, 2008

Kenya to brand export agro-products

Kenya will start branding floriculture, tea and coffee exports to the European Union.

Agriculture Minister William Ruto says the products had gained international recognition for high quality.

Addressing farmers during the Kenya Flower Council AGM in Naivasha, Mr Ruto said branding would give the products added value in the international market. "The horticulture sector is one of the fastest sectors in the country and the Government will fully support it," said Ruto.

He said farmers faced challenges due to high taxation but the Government was reviewing taxes levied against the farmers. The minister expressed concern over the high fuel prices, saying effects of the drop of crude oil prices were yet to trickle down.

"We are working with various partners on bio-fuel as this is the only alternative," he said.

Kenya Flower council Chairman Kabuyah Maito said cut flower exports to Japan rose to 19 per cent last year.

"We have received reports that the Eastern European countries like Russia are warming up to the Kenya flowers," he said.

Kabuya said exports to the EU were 36 per cent, adding that last year, 108,000 tonnes worth Sh32 billion had been produced.

Later the Minister visited the Naivasha Horticultural Fair where exhibitors, some from Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda displayed their wares.

Jack Kneppers, a farmer from Maridadi Flowers said freight charges had shot up 30 per cent in the last one year.

The Standard

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