Export volumes rose from 48,000t in the first six months of 2005 to 50,000t in the same period this year. But the value of sales fell 15% because of foreign exchange fluctuations. "This has not been an easy year," said Erastus Mureithi, chairman of the Kenya Flower Council.
"We must strike a balance between labour and other costs and pricing ourselves out of the market. The balance is a delicate one and the industry is looking at greater mechanisation to improve competitiveness."
Despite Ethiopian and Chinese competition, Kenya carved out a 31% share of the EU cut flower market. New markets in Italy, Poland and Dubai were developed.
However, the Kenyan industry stands to lose out from higher EU tariffs unless a trade deal is agreed before 2008.