Kenya is forecasting a 15% overall increase in exports this year compared to 2021, of which coffee is an important element. Wilfred Marube, managing director of the state-owned Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA), said the increase was mainly due to sales to new African markets as a result of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The country is also tapping into new markets, such as South Korea. Marube said at the launch of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers Vision 20 by 30 Summit that the country’s marketing efforts are paying off as Kenyan products are entering new markets.
Coffee is one of Kenya’s major exports, along with tea and horticulture, and other commodities. Marube mentioned that the aim is to increase exports by expanding the number of export destinations and the product base.
Kenya’s coffee revenue alone increased by Sh9.8 billion ($81 million) in the 11 months to August 2022, driven by higher volumes and better prices on the international market following supply shortages from leading coffee producer Brazil.
Data on coffee from the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) show that earnings reached Sh25.2 billion ($210 million) in the period, compared to Sh15.5 billion ($129 million) in the 11 months to August 2021.
The coffee season started in Kenya in October, hence the reporting of yields linked to this month.
Currently, “15 countries account for about 70 per cent of exports, while five products account for about half of export earnings.” Marube said Kenya could earn even more with improved infrastructure, as it currently exports much of its agricultural produce in unprocessed or semi-processed form. The country aims to increase its GDP from the current 7.2% to 20% by 2030 through exports.
Interestingly, Kenya, which has seen some challenges in some export markets in recent years, made no mention of China as a potential export partner. Ethiopia, as we have reported, is making a push for their coffee to be sold in China, so we were surprised to see no mention of them from Marube.
In 2020, Kenya exported $229 million worth of coffee, making it the 25th largest exporter of coffee in the world. In the same year, coffee was the 5th most exported product in Kenya. The major destinations of coffee exports from Kenya are the United States ($46.4m), Germany ($35.4m), Belgium ($25.5m), South Korea ($18.4m) and Switzerland ($17m).
According to a survey of companies operating in Africa, Kenya is also the second most popular export destination on the continent, “a sign of the country’s growing consumer power, driven by rising population and income.” Nigeria leads with 25.96%, followed by Kenya with 23.89% and South Africa with 22.12% of goods and services imported by African companies. In recent years, Kenya has improved its infrastructure, including the railway that runs from Mombasa to Naivasha.
Kenya imported $9.68 million worth of coffee in 2020, making it the 90th largest importer of coffee in the world. In the same year, coffee was 301st out of all imported products in Kenya. The country imports coffee mainly from Burundi ($2.92m), Rwanda ($2.86m), Uganda ($1.75m), the Democratic Republic of Congo ($705,000) and Tanzania ($304,000).Photo by Bex Walton, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons