China opens its doors for the import of Kenyan agricultural products

With approximately 1.4 billion people, China is not only the most populated country in the world but also one of the most attractive markets, offering entrepreneurs and farmers fertile ground for profits.

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  • After months of intense lobbying, Kenya and China have finally signed an agreement which will see Kenyan agricultural products access the lucrative Chinese market.
  • Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy and accounts to about 24% of  the GDP.

After months of intense lobbying, Kenya and China have finally signed an agreement which will see Kenyan agricultural products access the lucrative Chinese market.

“After a week of delicate negotiations, formal Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreements have been signed between Kenya and China for Kenya’s Agric produce to enter the Chinese market,” Nzioka Waita, Chief Of Staff, Office of The President tweeted over the weekend.

The list of approved agricultural products from Kenya that are now cleared to enter the Chinese market include; Avocado, French beans, Legumes (Peas, beans, green grams etc), Flowers, Vegetables & Fruits, Herbs, Mangoes, Peanuts, Meat, Hides & Skins.

Macadamia nuts, which has been on a surge in recent years forcing dozens of farmers to drop coffee beans for the hard nuts, Gum Arabica, Bixa, Asian vegetables (Chilli, Karela) and Myrrh are also on the approved list.

In addition, the two countries have also agreed to commence negotiations on expansion of trade opportunities and review of tariff and non-tariff barriers which continue to hider bilateral trade and formally launched the technical working group to look into the matter.

The news will certainly be music to Kenyan farmers ears who last week recorded another great milestone after one of the biggest supermarkets in the United Kingdom started stocking French beans from western Kenya.

Aldi stores, one of the biggest supermarkets in the United Kingdom, through a partnership with Farm Africa, a UK-based charitable organisation that helps farmers, pastoralists and forest communities in eastern Africa to improve their farm incomes is set to put on sale Kenyan French beans from Kitale starting this week.

Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy and accounts to about 24% of  the GDP.

The sector employees 78% of the country’s total employment and accounts for 65% of Kenya's total exports.

After years of Kenya-China trade relations being heavily skewed in favour of China maybe this can be the beginning of Kenya starting to claw back some ground and tip the scales in its favour.

Kenya exported goods worth Sh10 billion ($100,000) to China in 2016 but imported goods worth Sh337.4 billion ($3.374bn) from the Asian country, indicating a trade deficit of a whooping Sh317.4 billion ($3.174bn).

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