Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

"Kenya is a minor fruit and vegetable sector player"

Kenya is increasingly cultivating and exporting fruit and vegetables, yet in the grand scheme of things, its exports are relatively minor. However, for a few products, Kenya's significance as an exporting country is quite notable. Those include avocados, beans, and peas when it comes to Europe, and pineapples and mangoes for the Middle East. Compared to many other countries, the proportion of exported production is quite small. Considering only the numbers, there is potential to increase that. Mostly air-freight
Last year, the Netherlands imported nearly €700 million worth of goods from Kenya. Cut flowers were the most significant product group, accounting for almost €375 million. Fresh fruit, at €115 million, followed. Fresh vegetable imports from Kenya amounted to just over €30 million. Most Kenyan cut flower imports arrive by air, while most of its avocados come by sea. Beans from Kenya, though, are primarily flown in. Agricultural products are crucial for Kenya's exports. In total, the country exported over €7 billion worth of goods in 2022, with agricultural products making up €4 billion. Fresh and processed fruit and vegetable exports amounted to €575 million.

Significant production growth
In Kenya, both fruit and vegetable production have increased significantly in recent years. Fruit production climbed from 3 million tons in 2015 to 4.5 million tons now, while vegetable farming has grown from just over 2 million tons to 3.5 million tons in the same period. Major products include bananas (1.9 million tons), cabbage (1.4 million tons), mangoes (800,000 tons), tomatoes (660,000 tons), avocados (460,000 tons), watermelon (350,000 tons), and pineapple (260,000 tons).

More exports, too, especially of avocados
Kenyan fresh fruit and vegetable exports are growing rapidly, approaching 300,000 tons compared to just 120,000 tons in 2015. Avocado is the top export product; its export has grown from 40,000 tons in 2015 to over 100,000 tons in 2022. That makes Kenya the sixth largest avocado exporter. However, compared to Mexico's million-ton exports and Peru's 600,000 tons, it is not much. Over half of that country's avocado exports are destined for the EU, with the Netherlands as the main recipient. A considerable amount also goes to the Middle East. Notably, over the past year, avocado exports to the United Kingdom and especially Russia declined.

Pineapples, mangoes to the Middle East
Pineapples are the second largest export product. That grew from virtually nothing to more than 30,000 tons quickly, placing Kenya within the top 10 exporting countries. But, again, compared to the enormous quantities exported by Costa Rica and the Philippines, Kenya's export volume is modest. Kenyan pineapples are primarily exported to countries in the Middle East. The country's mango exports are also increasing, from 15,000 tons in 2015 to 25,000 tons now. These, too, are mainly exported to the Middle East. Carrots follow. This product, like tomatoes, onions, and the like, is largely exported to neighboring countries.

Bean exports not growing
Kenyan bean exports have not risen over the years. In fact, before 2015, Kenya exported more than the current 15 to 20,000 tons. Kenya used to export much more to the United Kingdom. Despite the significant decline, this country remains an important customer, with France and the Netherlands as almost equally significant buyers. Kenya, though, is not the European Union's primary fresh market bean supplier. Morocco does far more, and more come from Spain, too. Senegalese imports dropped sharply in 2023; that 13,000 tons almost equaled the EU's bean imports from Kenya.

The Netherlands does the most imports in the EU
EU fresh fruit and vegetable imports from Kenya are growing, from 45,000 tons in 2017 to 92,000 tons last year. The Netherlands is by far the most important destination within the European Union, followed by France and Spain. Avocadoes make up two-thirds of imports into the EU. In 2023, that amounted to 65,000 tons, making Kenya the European Union's fourth-largest avocado supplier. With 312,000 tons, Peru was by far the largest. Spain (110,000 tons) and Columbia (90,000 tons) follow.

The EU gets far more beans from Morocco than Kenya
Besides avocados, beans are the only other Kenyan products of significance regarding EU imports. These are for the fresh market. In 2023, the European Union imported 122,000 tons from Kenya. Morocco and Spain are much more important in this market, as are Senegalese beans. The Kenyan and Moroccan products are available year-round, but supplies dwindle between July and September. Senegalese beans are only on the market from late December through April, and Egyptian beans are mainly available from November through May.

Click here for the background figures

For more information:
Jan Kees Boon
Fruit and Vegetable Facts
[email protected]

Publication date: