Kenya’s flower industry is now facing another setback amid the coronavirus outbreak; lack of freight, even as demand begins to grow steadily ahead of Mothers’ Day.
The Kenya Flower Council reports that in the last one week, demand for cut flowers in the international market has begun to rise, with export demands hitting 3,500 tons per week.
However, the available freight capacity cannot accommodate the rise in volume demand, seeing that it stands at only 1,300 tons for all commodities; flowers, vegetables, and fish.
Before the virus outbreak, the freight capacity stood at 5,000 tons per week. However, it rapidly declined owing to a sudden decrease in international demand and cancellation of flights.
Currently, according to Hosea Machuki, head of the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya, operators have tripled the price per kilo of produce to $3 in the two weeks to end of March, making it too expensive for exporters.
Therefore, exporters are seeking short term support from the government to enable them to use Kenya Airways’ passenger fleet for cargo to inject in extra capacity.
Already, the horticulture sector in Kenya reports that it has incurred a net loss of KSh8 billion ($75.4 million) in the past month, as a result of the adverse effects of COVID-19.