Chinese garlic has flooded the Kenyan market as the Far East suppliers cash in on acute local shortages. Official data indicate that Kenya imported 50 percent of its garlic from China as traders moved to bridge the huge supply gap.
The Directorate of Horticulture says the volumes that Kenya produces in a year, which is about 2,000 tonnes, is not enough to meet the annual demand. Data from the directorate indicate that the yields have been growing marginally but the value has been going up driven by a shortage in the market.
In 2015, Kenya produced 1,928 tons of garlic worth Sh74 million (€650,000) while in 2017 the quantities went up to 2,379 with the value of Sh173 million (€1.5 mln).
Most of the imports are coming in from China where a huge consignment of the produce is being shipped into the country and sold to traders. A survey by the Business Daily reveals that local and Chinese garlic retails at the same price with a single piece selling for Sh10.
However, the Chinese garlic is bigger than the local ones, luring many buyers. Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service did not respond to queries on the safety of the imports. There have been concerns over the safety of goods that are imported from other countries, especially China, with questions arising on whether they meet the Kenyan safety standards.