Things Looking Brighter For Kenyan Avocado Farmer: Kenya-China (Shandong) Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum Updates

The Kenya-China (Shandong) economic and trade cooperation forum started this week and Kenya is making great efforts to strengthen and leverage bilateral trade with China, a move set to greatly benefit the Kenyan avocado farmers who are eying the expanding market for the fruit in the Asian country.

If these efforts bear the desired fruits, then avocado farmers in Kenya will also benefit in terms of capital injection from partnerships with investors as the country focuses on encouraging Chinese investors to establish presence in the Kenya's agricultural sector.

Stephen Odua, director of private sector development and business environment at the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Cooperatives told a trade forum in Nairobi that agriculture is one of the sectors that have been prioritized in order to transform Kenya's economic landscape.

"We are keen to have Chinese investors enter into the agricultural sector because they will enable Kenya to achieve food security," Odua said during the Kenya-China (Shandong) economic and trade cooperation forum.

In 2018, Kenya and China signed the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) protocol that is geared towards giving Kenya market access to the Chinese market.

Speaking at the same forum, Betty Maina, the principal secretary of industrialization ministry, said that Kenya has already signed export protocols for stevia, frozen avocado and donkey skins. 

Arrangements are underway to finalize the protocol on additional products including french beans, legumes, flowers, vegetables and fruits, herbs, peanuts macadamia nuts and Asian vegetables.

"I hope this forum today will further provide an opportunity of partnerships towards increasing the volume of exports from Kenya to China in an effort to bridge the gap between export and imports between the two countries," said Maina.

A delegation of 30 companies from east China's Shandong Province specialized in agricultural production and materials, food processing machinery and agricultural equipment will showcase the latest technology from China during the event.

Odua said that the forum will provide a good opportunity to further expand Kenya's collaboration with Shandong Province towards the full realization of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Wang Xuezheng, counselor at the Chinese embassy in Kenya said that the Kenya-China forum will provide a good opportunity for businessmen from both countries to strengthen cooperation in agriculture.

Wang added that the Chinese side also welcomes the establishment of Kenyan companies in China and expresses its readiness to provide necessary preferential policies.

China is also encouraging more Chinese enterprises to import popular products including tea, coffee, vegetables and fruits, spice and flowers in order to help Kenya upgrade its agriculture industry.

Willie Too, principal agricultural officer at ministry of agriculture, livestock and fisheries said that Kenya is seeking to increase value addition in the agricultural sector.

Too said that China is an ideal partner to help Kenya to process its agricultural produce using modern technology.

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