KENYA – Kenya is set to maintain its lead position as one of the largest fresh produce exporters in the region by opening an alternative air freight route from the Kisumu International Airport.

Following a successful test run, the country is set to undertake its inaugural cargo flight on January 8, 2022 and will operate twice a week.

This according to reports by Kenya News Agency, comes after expansion of the airport to encompass a cargo handling and cold storage facility through a Public Private Partnership (PPP).

The cold storage facility owned by a local investor will go a long way in enabling the airport to establish a full-fledged cargo division and cold chain logistics.

The facility will unite cargo airlines, freight forwarders, farmers, fish traders and airports to identify opportunities, generate new business and add additional frequencies into the market.

Farmers are expected to venture into value addition and fish processing to tap into existing markets locally and internationally.

Among the commodities earmarked for export from the airport include avocados, fish, chilies, pepper, mangoes, pineapples, peanuts, traditional green vegetables and organic beef.

“The development gives hope to farmers and fishermen in this area and signals a pragmatic approach to cooperation, grounded in the priorities of the Kenyan Government at the national and regional levels.

“This is set to give us a global competitive advantage because of our unique regional position,” said Kisumu Lakefront Development Corporation (KLDC) Chairman FCPA Edward Ouko.

The airport will work closely with other government agencies to ensure what is being exported meets all the requirements.

The test run was attended by officials from the Kenya Revenue Authority, Ministry of Health and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) amongst others.

Last year, the national government allocated Ksh. 1.2 billion (US$10m) to expand Kisumu International Airport. The expansion is expected to be completed by April this year.

State shipping eyes cold chain logistics entry

Meanwhile in Ethiopia, state-owned Ethiopian Shipping & Logistics Services Enterprise (ESLSE) is set to acquire its maiden batch of refrigerated (reefer) containers as part of its expansion plans into cold chain logistics.

ESLSE is mulling to buy 30 units of refrigerated containers at a cost of a little over Br 16 million (US$320,000), reports Addis Fortune.

The procurement is prompted by growing demand from the horticulture industry and at the moment ELSE use rented reefer containers to transport perishable goods to ports in Djibouti.

The organization’s acquisition also augurs well for the country’s fledging avocado exports, which stand to benefit from the reefer containers.

Last year, around 3,000 tonnes of the Hass variety of avocado were exported, generating close to 800,000 dollars. Though the value is 800 percent larger than what was earned four years ago, there is more potential.

Overall, Ethiopia earned US$450 million dollars from the exports of horticultural products, mainly flowers, last year.

Further building its cold storage capacity, the federal government in partnership with the Netherlands have plans to construct a cold chain facility at Modjo Dry Port on 5.6 hectares of land with an outlay of 50 million euros (US$56.5m). The Dutch government covers half of the cost.

“The feasibility study is finalised, and we’re awaiting a decision on how and when to allocate the remaining 50% share,” said Mengist Hailemariam, manager of the Ethiopia Trade Logistics Project at Maritime Authority.

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