Kenya contracts 12 airlines to keep horticulture exports afloat during covid-19 pandemic
London, May 9, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Kenya has approached 12 airlines to complement the efforts of its national carrier to keep its horticulture export business afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said it was necessary to maintain the business so as to receive income to fund the government’s response to the pandemic and keep the economy going.
Macharia, however, did not give the name of any of the airlines or mention at which stage discussions had reached.
“We have also ensured that we keep on exporting our flowers, our horticulture produce and that is why, in addition to the facilities provided by Kenya Airways, we have approached 12 other airlines to make sure they can complement the two freighters which are owned by Kenya Airways,” Macharia said.
According to Macharia, the move will ensure about 350,000 jobs in the flower and fresh produce sectors are sustained during this challenging economic period.
“We are discussing how this additional capacity will be implemented through these additional 12 airlines which we have agreed that they will supplement in terms of airlifting the cargo for the external destinations.”
Horticulture is one of Kenya’s top hard currency earners, along with tea exports, tourism and remittances from the diaspora.
However, the industry, like several others, has been hard hit by disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kenya Shilling strengthened against the United States dollar on Friday on the back of inflows from horticulture exports and diaspora remittances amid reduced demand for the dollar from importers, Reuters reported.