Why is Kenya a Net Exporter but an Importer of Food?

02 December 2022

As we know, Kenya is considered as the continent's second most favoured export destination, according to a survey of companies operating there, demonstrating the nation's increased purchasing power as a result of rising population and income. Kenya's trade deficit was determined by Statista to be around 10.94 billion dollars. Also, Kenya imports food mostly as a result of agricultural area fragmentation, inadequate government policies, and a lack of agricultural technology. For instance, the demand for products made from wheat has increased tremendously over the past decade or two, yet there is no government programme to assist wheat growers. In this blog, we will discuss why Kenya is a net exporter but an importer of food.

Major Facts about Kenya Trade

As we discussed above, Kenya is the second most favoured export destination. According to the Economic Complexity Index and Kenya Import Data, Kenya's economy ranked 64 globally in terms of GDP (current US dollars), 103 globally in terms of total exports, 77 globally in terms of total imports, 152 globally in terms of GDP per capita (current US dollars), and 80 globally in terms of economic complexity in 2020. Also, Kenya is the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa and has a home market of more than 50 million people. The main justifications for American businesses to think about doing business in Kenya are:

  • Market-Based Economy
  • Commercial, financial, and logistics sectors of East Africa
  • High Fluency in technology
  • Secure Bilateral Relationship with the United States

According to the Kenya Trade Data reports, the top 10 exporting countries to Kenya accounted for 63.5% of the total value of exports recorded in 2019. From a continental perspective, 35.2% of Kenya's exports by value went to African countries, while 30.5% of its exports by value were sold to customers in Asia. 24% more of the products were shipped to clients in Europe. Australia (0.5%), Latin America (excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean) (0.9%), and North America (8.4%, 0.9%, and 0.9%, respectively) contributed smaller amounts.

Why is Kenya a Net Exporter but an Importer of Food?

Kenya Imports is still the region's economic powerhouse in East Africa. Kenya's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $74.9 billion in 2017. Kenya is a net importer of food and agricultural products. Between the years 2013 and 2017, the value of agricultural and related products exported to Kenya increased at an average annual rate of 13%.
US$3.3 billion was reached in 2017. Kenya's agricultural food market presents chances for U.S. exporters to enter due to constraints in the country's agricultural food processing sector, a rapidly developing middle class and population, an expanding food service sector, and modern food retail.

Competition of Kenya Consumer Oriented Market

Between calendar years (CY) 2013 and 2017, Kenya's imports of consumer-oriented food goods increased at an average annual rate of 12.6%. In the same time frame, U.S. exports increased by 21.2 percent.
The aforementioned rise is attributable to the middle class' rapid expansion as well as the burgeoning food service and retail industries. Ongoing expansion is anticipated. Snack foods, dairy goods, pasta, sauces & condiments, pet food, and specialty food ingredients are among the best product prospects. 

According to the Kenya Imports, The restriction on genetically modified food in Kenya restricts the market for American agricultural exports. With 84 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports to Kenya in CY 2017 reaching US$ 73 million, bulk and intermediate items continue to rule this market.

Kenya Import and Inspection Procedures

Through a Certificate of Conformity, the Government of Kenya (GOK) supports the importing of goods for consumers (CoC). An imported product must meet Kenyan import regulations as determined by a government-appointed pre-shipment inspection (PSI) business in order to receive a CoC. Pre-shipment inspection firms like Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), Intertek International, Ltd., or Bureau Veritas inspect and certify imports coming from the United States. The importer must show the CoC to the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) for clearance of the items and to receive the Import Standardization Mark (ISM), a stick-on label that must be attached to each retail item imported, once the PSI business has granted a CoC. Also know Kenya now become the Top Export Destinations in Africa

Documents Required by Kenya Government for Imported Food

There are various documents required by Kenya government for imported food are-

Certificate of Conformity (CoC)

  • Phytosanitary Certificate (PC) 
  • agricultural commodities 
  • Non-Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Certificate
  • Bill of Lading (
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Customs Entry Form
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Health Certificates 
  • Insurance Certificate
  • Fumigation Certificate
  • Radiation Certificate
  • Noxious Weed Certificate 

Access Kenya Trade Data Hassle-Free

So Kenya is a net importer of food and agricultural products and also a major importer of food. Additionally, the Kenya Import data includes the precise product description and is highly useful for analysing the global distribution of products. If you need any advice on Kenya Import Export Data or Kenya Imports, kenyatradedata specialists can provide you with useful information. They may guarantee the delivery of precise and genuine Kenya Trade Data reports and allow traders to download data reports.

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