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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Chinese investors upbeat about Kenya’s agro-chemicals market

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Chinese businessman Frank Yang’s sunny optimism about African market was reinforced during his recent visit to the Kenyan capital Nairobi, where an exhibition was held.

The vice general manager of a Chinese manufacturer of agrochemicals is upbeat that venturing into the Kenyan market promises huge rewards.

During an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of a China-Africa Agrochemical Exhibition on Tuesday, Yang said his company intended to expand its footprint in Kenya where demand for farm inputs is on the rise.

“Kenya is a very strategic market for us and we are in discussions with several local partners to facilitate our entry here,” said Yang, adding that his company had already established a strong presence in Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.

Forty Chinese firms participated in the exhibition, which was established last year, to showcase their products and explore new business opportunities in Kenya and the larger eastern African region.

Yang said his conversation with Kenyan officials and business executives shone a spotlight on bright prospects for agro-chemical industry in the country as Kenya is fast-tracking the mechanization of agriculture.

“The use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in Kenya has grown at an annual average of 10 percent. A majority of farmers are convinced that managing crop pests and diseases alongside adding nutrients to the soils is key to higher productivity,” Yang said.

He said that as Kenya and other African countries were adopting highly mechanized farming systems, demand for fertilizers and pesticides would increase.

“So far, consumption of agro-chemicals in Kenya may not be at par with global standards but it will increase tremendously in the near future,” Yang added.

Dozens of Chinese businessmen who participated in the exhibition expressed their confidence in the Kenyan market and said they would fast-track negotiations with local partners to facilitate their entry.

James Zeng, the managing director of a Chinese manufacturer of products used in farming, said the Kenyan agro-chemicals industry remained attractive to Chinese investors despite several regulatory hurdles.

“We are already doing business in West Africa and Egypt. And Kenya presents new opportunities to manufacturers of agro-chemicals,” Zeng said.

Zeng said his company was seeking a local partner in Kenya to facilitate export of compounds used in the manufacture of farm inputs.

These are signs that more Chinese firms are willing to be part of Kenya’s agricultural development. And Kenya’s stable food production to meet local and regional demand has led to an attractive market for products used in farming for Chinese businessmen.

Peter Li from another Chinese manufacturer of fertilizers said his company intended to venture into the Kenyan market where he expected good returns.

His company produces and exports water soluble fertilizer that has gained traction across Africa where governments are promoting soil regeneration using organic matter.

Li said water soluble fertilizers promise higher yields without compromising the health of soils, water sources and other vital ecosystems.

“The use of water soluble fertilizers by Kenyan farmers is a brilliant choice since it will reverse salinity in soils and boost crop yield,” Li said.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Willy Bett, who attended the exhibition, said Kenya had created a friendly policy and environment to attract Chinese investment in the agro-chemicals market.

“Kenya has been collaborating with China in the field of agriculture to enhance productivity of this sector. We encourage Chinese investors to explore our agro-chemical industry that has potential for growth,” Bett said.

Kenya is a regional hub for manufacturing and exports of agro-chemicals thanks to its strategic position, supportive infrastructure like roads, seaports and power.

“China is a leading producer and exporter of fertilizers and chemicals for management of crop diseases and pests. The country can help us develop our own agro-chemicals industry,” Bett said.

Ma Chunyan, an official from the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, a trade body backed by the Chinese government, said that Kenya was among leading importers of products used in farming from China.

“In 2015, Kenya and Tanzania imported from China pesticides worth 900,000 U.S. dollars. This is a clear indication the local and regional market for agro-chemicals is yet to be tapped fully,” Ma said.

She added that Chinese firms were ready to offer technical and financial support to catalyze agricultural transformation in Africa.

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Kenya seeks Chinese investment to develop agro-chemicals industry

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya has created a friendly policy and environment to attract Chinese investment in the agro-chemicals market, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Willy Bett, said the next phase of Sino-Kenya agricultural cooperation will focus on development of a robust fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing sector.

“Kenya has been collaborating with China in the field of agriculture to enhance productivity of this sector. We encourage Chinese investors to explore our agro-chemical industry that has potential for growth,” Bett said.

He was speaking in Nairobi during the opening of the 2nd China-Africa Agro-chemicals Summit and Exhibition attended by policymakers, regulators and industry executives.

An estimated 40 Chinese firms are showcasing their products at the two-day exhibition.

Kenya wants strengthen partnership with China in the areas of research, technology and skills transfer in order to create a vibrant agro-chemicals industry, Bett said.

“China is a leading producer and exporter of fertilizers and chemicals for management of crop diseases and pests. The country can help us develop our own agro-chemicals industry,” said Bett.

Kenya is keen on adopting China’s technology and innovations to boost production of environmental-friendly pesticides and fertilizers, he said.

He added that Kenya’s regulatory agencies had streamlined issuance of permits to encourage foreign direct investment in the agro-chemicals industry.

Evelyn Lusenaka, CEO of the Agro-chemicals Association of Kenya, said the market for farm inputs like fertilizers and pesticides have bright prospects as Kenya is trying to modernize the agriculture sector.

“We have witnessed a rapid growth of agro-chemicals industry in Kenya as food production systems become highly mechanized. There is need to encourage more external players to invest in this sector,” Lusenaka said. 

             

 

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