Horticulture tipped to lift Kenya’s economic rebound

The horticulture sector has been tipped to guide the rebound of the Kenyan economy as the country rediscovers growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a report by global online trading firm Scope Markets, the country has seen superior yields from its agricultural exports portfolio warranting the recent adjustment to its 2020 GDP projection.

“We and many analysts’ forecasts Kenya’s economy to grow at 1.5 per cent in 2020 driven by superior agricultural yields because of good rains and better overall conditions,” the report said.

Several other actors have adjusted their growth projections for Kenya while the National Treasury and the Central Bank of Kenya have upheld their previous GDP projections of 2.6 and 2.3 per cent respectively.

Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicated it would raise its growth projection for Kenya in October from a low -0.3 per cent outlook earlier in the year.

The country’s earnings from horticulture have continued to flourish under the pandemic against the odds of severed global supply chains occasioned by the pandemic.

According to data contained in the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) leading economic indicators for the first seven months of the year to July, earnings from the export of cut flowers, fruits and vegetables increased by 8.6 per cent to Ksh.93.4 billion.

The improved receipts supported by better prices for cut flowers and fruits was against lower volumes of 185,215 metric tons compared to 206,127 metric tons of produce sold last year.

Kenya appears be on course to avoid its first ever recession since 1992 as output looks up following the ease of COVID-19 restriction measures across July and August.

While addressing the nation on August 26, President Uhuru Kenyatta indicated the economy was doing much better than was expected.

“I must admit that we have done better than we expected.  For instance, even under COVID, the economy has grown by 4.6% compared to 5.5% last year. Inflation is lower today at 4.4% compared to 6.3% during the same period last year; the current economic indicators are far better than we anticipated,” he said.

The economy however absorbed its largest shock between the months of April and June as the pandemic spread its tentacles across the local enterprise.

According to data from the KNBS quarterly labour report, 1.7 million Kenyans lost their jobs within the three month stretch as Kenya’s unemployment rate doubled to 10.4 per cent.

The statistician office is expected to publish the second quarter GDP outturn on September 30.