Kenya’s neighbors are proving competitive in securing themselves a share of the United Kingdom (UK) market if the latest trade and investment report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is anything to go by.
Kenya should and must raise its standards in production, marketing and strategies to regain its position in the market as stated in the current trade and investment report.
Exports from the rest of the world to the UK have been reported as to have risen by 15 percent in eight years to 2017, during this time, Kenya lost its top three exports to the same destination according to the study.
The value of Kenya’s exports to the UK, according to the International Trade Centre data, has been declining with a move from 50.3 billion shillings in 2009 to 37.6 billion shillings in 2017.
The study showed that Kenya’s share in UK imports fell from 16 percent in 2011 to seven percent by 2014 as vegetables and flowers lost competitiveness to neighboring countries due to improved wages, marketing systems, diversity and standard compliance.
“Kenya has lost its competitiveness to other countries and that has to be rectified by upping its standards, improve marketing and branding of its products as well as diversifying,” said the principal of research fellow and head of Economic Development Group, Dirk Wellem Te Velde.
Mr. Te Velde, further, stated that lack of diversification had reduced Kenya’s competitiveness and given rise to significant competition from other African countries such as Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ivory Coast, which have all gradually eaten into Kenya’s market share in the UK.
Kenya’s top three exports to the UK are namely cut roses, tea, and beans. However, between the years 2012 – 2016, the country’s total value of tea imported to the UK had shrunk by a notable 0.9 percent while that of Rwanda had risen by a significant 20.6 percent.
Kenya’s value of UK fresh cut roses and buds shrunk by 2.3 percent while that of Ethiopia rose by an astonishing 88.7 percent as the value of Kenyan fresh or chilled beans exported fell by 12.2 percent, Tanzania’s rose by 12.2 percent.
Kenya, therefore, needs to rise to the occasion and learn a few tips from its neighbors as its market share will continue to reduce if no steps are taken to address the value of its exported produce.