Kenya’s horticulture sector has emerged as the third biggest earner of foreign exchange in the year 2018, Clement Tulezi, CEO Kenya Flower Council (KFC) said Feb 12.

During that period the sector raked in KSh153 billion (US$ 1,524,308,400), making it number three in its contribution to Kenya’s income after diaspora remittance and tourism.

Flowers made the bulk of the earnings, bringing in Sh113 billion (US$ 1,126,507,825.40), with vegetables emerging second by raking in Sh27 billion (US$ 269,165,586.60) with fruits emerging third with earnings of Sh12 billion (US $ 119,629,149.60).

This outstanding performance happened despite the industry facing the challenge of delays in supply of fertilizers.

The earnings in the review period grew by 33 per cent from Sh115 billion (U.S $ 1,146,291,250.00) registered the year before on account of high demand and good international prices.

Releasing the results, the CEO said the performance shows the potential that the country had saying the future of the industry would be more auspicious if the government weighed in with support.

“The flower industry overcame the challenge of fertilizer shortage to record good performance,” said Mr. Tulezi.

He said there are a lot of challenges that still remain despite having discussed with the government to address the outstanding issues such as double taxation and high cost of doing business.

Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo said government was doing all within its capacity to address the challenges.

“From the results that we have just seen it is evident that the horticulture industry is key to our economy and we need to give it all the required support,” said Dr Kiptoo.