Promoting Kenya’s mango, chilli exports by strengthening trade support institutions
Mango and chilli exporters in Kenya are set to become more competitive in global markets after ITC conducted an institutional mapping and assessment of the Export Promotion Council (EPC) and the Horticulture Crops Development Directorate (HCD), which support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in increasing exports.
The assessment was conducted as part of the ‘Promoting Intraregional Trade in East Africa’ project, funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The project is designed to promote inclusive and sustainable export-led growth in Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia by improving the competitiveness of SMEs in select agri-food sectors from 2014-2016.
In Kenya, the focus is on market diversification through empowerment of village-based enterprises (VBEs) and engagement of the private sector, as well as on product diversification through the development of dried mango and chili products.
Strengthening the capacities of the EPC and HCD is aimed at enhancing their ability to provide services to SMEs in the mango and chilli sectors, which enable them to enter more markets and stay competitive in them. The institutions will receive coaching and training in areas such as service portfolio development, competitive intelligence and preparation for trade fairs and trade missions. A results-based management system will also be established.
Representatives of the EPC and HCD – along with producers, exporters and other public- and private-sector players – validated the findings of the institutional mapping and assessment at a workshop on 12 March 2015 at the Fairmont Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi.
Public-sector participants came from the Kenya Coastal Development Project. Private-sector players from Mace Foods, Azuri Health and Haruma Women’s Group and highlighted their need for trade intelligence, export training and export promotion services from the EPC, as well as extension services, post-harvest management training, soil analysis and guidance on pesticide use from the HCD.
Ruth Mwaniki, the Chief Executive Officer of EPC, highlighted the importance of horticulture in the Kenyan economy, which accounted for 18% of total merchandise exports in 2013.
‘To reposition our exports in the global marketplace, the Council will continue to work with all stakeholders in the sector and encourage more collaboration, particularly with the trade associations, in order to develop the industry further,’ said Ms. Mwaniki. ‘Enhanced partnership and targeted joint programmes in implementing the strategic action plan will help address the various challenges and enhance the industry’s competitiveness.’