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Environmental cost of Kenya's cut flower export industry

Geoff Riley

14th February 2018

Kenya has developed a comparative advantage in growing and processing cut flowers. Kenya is the largest supplier of cut flowers to the European Union & flower farming accounts for about 40% of all horticultural exports.

The Ecologist reports here that "Flower exports have become Kenya’s third major foreign exchange earner - after tea and tourism - bringing more than $100m into the Kenyan economy each year."

But there are growing concerns about the environmental impact. It is a good mini case study in the private and social costs and benefits from developing an export industry heavily reliant on water.

And naturally the success of the Kenyan cut flower industry invites competitive challenges from countries such as Ethiopia

Find out more about the changing pattern and complexity of Kenyan exports by visiting the Observatory of Economic Complexity.

Pattern of exports of goods for Kenya in 2016 (Source: OBR)

For extra interest ... which countries impose the highest tariffs on imported roses? Trade News Analysis (as so often) has the answer!

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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