Photograph — Kenyan Wallstreet

Data collated by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows Pakistan overtook Uganda to become the biggest buyer of Kenyan goods in the first five months of the year. 

Kenya’s exports rose by 6.73 percent (or Ksh16.98 billion, $158 million) from January-May 2020 to Ksh269.13 billion ($2.5 billion) spurred by increased sale of tea and horticultural products.

Export earnings to Pakistan, predominantly tea, increased from 19.37 percent to Ksh24.13 billion ($225 million), pushing the world’s fifth most populous country back to the summit of top importers of Kenyan products for the first time since 2017.

KNBS data shows that Uganda, Kenya’s largest overall trading partner, dropped 5.65 percent to Ksh20.22 billion ($189 million), largely hurt by delays in April and May due to a requirement for truckers to have Covid-free certificates.

As a result, delivery of goods such as vegetable oils, fuel, iron and steel as well as paper and paperboard– to Kampala was slowed down. This makes Uganda the third biggest buyer of Kenya’s after being surpassed by the United Kingdom (UK).

Revenue exports to the UK, grew by 30.6 percent to Ksh21.49 billion ($200 million) due to increase in demand of fresh farm produce such as fruits, cut flowers and vegetables.

According to Kenya Flower Council, the demand for Kenyan fresh produce (KFC) in Europe and other key destinations has been rising since April at about 30 percent of targeted sales to current levels of nearly 75 percent.

In a telephone conversation with Reuters, Clement Tulezi KFC chief executive said, “the biggest challenge we have at the moment is freight. It is only the UK which has remained open for the longest even when we were in the heat of Covid shocks two months ago.”

Overall, tea earnings jumped 18.90 percent to Ksh58.62 billion ($548 million), cut flowers by 4.23 percent to Ksh51.14 billion ($478 million), while income from sale of fruits surged 78.91 percent to Ksh11.09 billion ($104 million).

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