How To Become An Exporter Of Horticultural Produce

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A: Legal Documentation and Licensing Requirements

 To export horticultural products which are fruits, flowers, vegetables and processed horticultural products the following legal/licenses are mandatory.


  1. A Certificate of Business Incorporation/Registration from the Business Registration Service
  1. Obtain an Export Licence from Agriculture Food Authority (AFA)-Horticultural Crops

Directorate (HCD). New/Renewal forms are obtained in the AFA Website HCD Section the following conditions apply.

  • Submit copies of Certificate of Incorporation/Registration
  • Packing facilities inspection report
  • Register the contract (between the producer & exporter) with the HCD indicating produce price, quantity and quality requirements
  • Company stamp and authorized signatory of the applicant
  • A Bank Account
  • Declaration of source of produce
  • If you are a grower, indicate the location of the land and the total acreage under production
  • If not, provide written contracts with farmers for supply of produce of a certain quality and standard, unless you are producing the export crop yourself.
  • You will also need to have or demonstrate access to:-
  • Packing facilities. (shed, grading hall, cold store, etc )
  • An adequate knowledge of quality standards for horticultural produce on the market (Good Agricultural Practices – GAP; Traceability; Maximum Residue Level – MRLs; Post Harvest Handling procedures, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) etc.
  • Documentary evidence from your overseas client, that you are ready to start an export business e.g., an order from the client, or agreement to start business etc.

HCD provides avail guidelines on how to construct a hygienic collection shed and pack house regulations.

B: Export Documentation

Every consignment of horticultural products requires the following documents that are mandatory: -

  1. Phytosanitary Certificate from Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services – issued after inspection.
  1. Certificate of Origin (depending on the destination market);
  • COMESA Certificate of Origin for products destined to COMESA countries
  • EAC Certificate of Origin for products destined to EAC Countries
  • EUR – 1 Form for products destined to European Union
  • GSP form for products destined to USA, Japan, Australia, and Canada etc.
  • Ordinary Certificate of Origin for products destined to Middle East, India, Central Europe, etc.
  • AGOA certificate of origin for products destined to the US.
  1. Commercial Invoice
  1. Bill of lading (sea freight), Airway bill (for air freight)
  1. Packing List


C: Business Infrastructure

  1. Acquire a trading premise (office, pack house, cold store)
  1. Establish communication infrastructure
  • Address
  • Telephone
  • Email address
  1. Develop Business image builders/marketing tools:
    • Letter Head
    • Business Cards
    • Company Profile/Brochure
    • Price list
    • Packaging and Branding
  2. Post-harvest handling Facilities
  • Collection sheds at the farms
  • Insulated transporting vehicles
  • Packing house/hall
  • Cold store


D: Marketing of Horticultural Produce

Horticultural sector comprises of four sub-sectors namely;

  • Cut flowers
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Processed horticultural products

Kenya’s most important markets for horticultural produce include Europe, Middle East, Far East and Asia and parts of Africa. Kenya’s horticultural produce is exported mainly in fresh but in value added packaging as well as in processed forms.

  1. Export Marketing Channels for Horticultural Produce
  • Direct exporting

This involves the producer exporting directly to the foreign country. The producer can export directly to:

  1. Consumer
  2. Wholesalers/retailers in the export market
  • Distributors in the foreign country
  1. Auctions especially for flowers
  2. Through joint ventures with partners in the importing countries
  1. Own branches set up in the export market.
  • Through licensing arrangements with a company in the export market
  • Indirect Exporting

Here the producer/farmer does not have direct access to the foreign market. The following options can be pursued.

  1. Option 1: The exporter sells to an exporting company/agent (middleman) locally. The exporting company/agent consolidates the produce, inspects on the quality, does the packaging and exports through the channels indicated above.

This channel could be appropriate to small-scale producers who do not have enough capacity to produce adequate quantities. This method can also be beneficial to a beginner in export business where they will acquire experience especially on quality requirements, production planning, packaging, export market requirements and capacity build up to increase production. Here the risks are transferred to the exporting company.

         ii. Option 2: Small-scale producers form clusters such as cooperatives, groups etc. through which they will sell their produce. The groups will in turn market the produce through the direct exporting                  channels.

        iii. Option 3: Horticultural producers can also sell through foreign companies or organisations registered locally i.e., trade offices, etc. For instance, a number of flower auctions of Netherlands have                  set  up buying offices in Nairobi.

Therefore, indirect exporting will enable the small-scale producers take advantage of the skills, expertise and market knowledge of export companies (production planning, quality requirements, market trends and consumer preferences). This comes in handy at a later stage when the producer intents to export directly.

Marketing Agent

Marketing agents act as middlemen between growers of horticultural produce and buyers of horticultural produce. They sell to exporters as well as supply supermarkets, hotels and groceries. Engagements with any horticultural growers should be through contract farming. The registration of these agents is anchored on the Crops Act 2013, para 61(1) and (11). This is to ensure produce traceability and conformity to quality standards.

  • E: Branding Horticultural Produce

In our efforts to increase the competitiveness of our export products, it is imperative that our products are well branded. KEPROBA has developed a unique identifier of our Horticulture products known as the Grown in Kenya brand Mark.


a. The Grown in Kenya Mark (GIK)


This mark has been HCD can avail guidelines on how to construct a hygienic collection shed and pack house regulations.

ties, to identify Kenya’s Horticultural products abroad. This mark will not only differentiate our products but also make them competitive, inspire creative excellence and show genuine integrity that adds real value to all our customers.

b. The Meaning of the Mark


  1. The big sphere in the Centre of the logo represents the unity of the Country that we all speak with One Voice.
  2. The small brown dots around the central sphere stand for the land and represent all the 47 counties together.
  3. The black bars represent the people of Kenya
  4. The red circle stands for our passion and pride 
  • (4.1) as we move in a positive direction
  • (4.2) communication with the world, through the gold arrows.

       5. The small dots around the external sphere represent every Kenyan in the world - 2 colours for both male and female.

       6. The complete unity logo represents the Kenyan culture and heritage through authentic inspiration.

c. Criteria for acquiring the mark

  • Location – Companies must be located in Kenya
  • Employment – At least 50% of the employees should be Kenyans.
  • Compliance with statutory requirements including:
  • Tax compliance Certificate
  • Registration Certificates


Certification -The product must bear the approved certification for Horticulture products

d. Benefits of Adopting the Mark


Grown in Kenya (GIK) adoptees stand to enjoy the following benefits.

Access to financing

In conjunction with our key stakeholders in the financial services sector and development partners we shall provide opportunities to access financing in the form of credit facilities at discounted rates as well as access to grants. This will allow you to access much needed financial resources to carry out your export operations smoothly.


Access to promotional services

You will enjoy promotional opportunities in order to improve market penetration and sales, as well as better reach and target communication with your publics. These include your products being featured and profiled in our periodic horticulture sector campaigns targeting international audiences as well as the opportunity to participate in niche expos especially in the international market


Access to Training services

You will get the latest training on branding, reputation management, sales management, media relations and negotiation skills. This wealth of information will help overcome previous information barriers and help you increase your bargaining power in the market, while positioning yourself favorably vis a vis external competition.  In addition, you will be trained on how to effectively use the Grown in Kenya toolkit, You will also benefit from sector specific trade information packs and dedicated business counsellors to assist you .


The logo can be applied on the product, packaging, websites, Social media and any other form of advertising.

Log on to to apply


KEPROBA has compiled this Information with the aim of providing support and guidance for promotion of Kenya’s Export of goods and services. The information contained in this document is restricted, legally privileged, and may be inaccurate due to policy changes from time to time. KEPROBA will not accept responsibility or liability for the content, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided therein.


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The Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA) is a State Corporation established under the State Corporations Act Cap 446 through Legal Notice No.110 of August 9th, 2019 after a merger between Export Promotion Council and Brand Kenya Board.The Agency’s core mandate is to implement export promotion and nation branding initiatives and policies to promote Kenya’s export of goods and services
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