Kenyan vegetables, particularly snow peas and sugar snaps, have gained popularity in the Netherlands, leading to increased demand and huge returns for local farmers.
In a bulletin published on Wednesday, September 6 by Fresh Plaza, a global trade media platform for the fresh produce industry, international Dutch fresh produce importer, Pepijin de Koning of FV Seleqt noted that this high demand prompted the company to begin year-round imports of vegetables from Kenya.
In the past, Kenya used to export small quantities of sugar snaps and snow peas to the Netherlands via air transport. Netherlands at the time, primarily depended on imports from Peru, Zimbabwe and Zambia via boat.
Fast forward to the present, Kenya has gained ground due to the export of huge quantities via sea freight.
A photo of Kenyan sugar snaps ready for export.
“This summer, this Dutch importer has sea freight from Kenya too,” Pepijin de Koning of FV Seleqt noted in the bulletin.
“Our customers responded very enthusiastically to this switch, as flown-in sugar snaps and snow peas have fallen out of favour with many retailers.”
Pepijin noted that despite the challenges of sea freight, clients appreciated the convenience of being able to import these vegetables throughout the year.
Among the four countries supplying the Netherlands with sugar snaps and snow peas, only Kenya offered a solution that allowed customers to purchase these vegetables conveniently.
Boosted by sea freight capabilities, Kenyan farmers are now reaping huge returns by exporting large volumes of in-demand vegetables.
Profit margins are expected to rise in the coming months as the Netherlands reduces its imports from Peru due to the impact of El Nino in the South American country.
This development presents Kenyan farmers with an opportunity requiring them to step in and fill in the supply gap.
“El Nino (in Peru) will, thus, make this year even more challenging. Thanks to farms in Africa, complemented by a strong global network of partner growers, we should be able to supply our buyers well,” the company explained.
Sugar Snap and Snow Pea Farming in Kenya
Sugar snap and snow peas, primarily cultivated in Nyandarua County, made their debut in the Kenyan market back in 2013.
Local farmers deliver their harvested peas to the Giita Bush Collection Centre, located in Kipipiri Constituency in Nyandarua. At this collection centre, the peas are sampled for export.
Notably, sugar snap peas, unlike other types of peas, don’t naturally split open when they ripe. They are typically enjoyed in salads or as a whole, either stir-fried or steamed.
Sugar snaps in Kenya being packaged for export.