The assessment of marketing of horticultural produce in Kenya
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The main concern of this paper is to assess the marketing of horticultural produce in Kenya. In 1950 the Horticultural Cooperative Union (HCU) was organized to help mostly European farmers to market fruit and vegetables. The HCU has been faced with some financial problems, mainly due to loss in customers and inactive members. The HCU shares about 15 to 20 % of the total Kenya exports. There are some producers-exporters specialized in exporting flowers and some commodities like French beans, pineapples and capsicum. The climatical conditions and ecological zones are good, enabling many fruit and vegetables to be produced in Kenya. The major export products are flowers, pineapples, French beans, capsicum and fresh fruits. The trade channels are mainly directed to the British market, which is dominant with a share of 50.64 % in 1982 and European markets (mainly West Germany, having a market share of 15.5 % in 1982 and France with a market share of 12.20 % for the same year 1982). In 1974 the main export to West Germany was pineapple which amounted to 24.9 % of all fresh produce imported from Kenya, second was capsicums with 10.8 %. Kenya fresh fruit and vegetables show a high demand on European markets. This market is a very competitive one. The countries in the Mediterranean region and in the tropical equatorial part of the African Continent pose a challenging position to this market. There is free entry and free exit to this market. When Kenya wants to have a sizable share of this market also in the future, it has to maintain a high quality at a reasonable price. This means that quality control, proper packaging and efficient transportation to the market have to be improved. The smallholders need to be supported when entering the market and need close advisory in order to supply high quality produce. Kenya should be willing to invest in areas like market research, market intelligence and export promotion. In addition the local consumption of fruit and vegetables should be encouraged as a part of the National Food Policy Program.