Kenya’s ‘Omena’ Exports to China Surge, Reflecting Growing Trade Ties

September 16, 2023 0


In a significant milestone for Kenya’s fisheries sector, the nation has recently exported a substantial shipment of 52 tonnes of Silver Cyprinid, locally known as ‘omena,’ to Changsha Huanghua International Airport in China’s Hunan Province. This achievement is a direct result of a bilateral agreement inked between the two countries in January 2022, demonstrating the mutual benefits stemming from international cooperation.

This remarkable feat finds its roots in a broader narrative of strengthening trade ties between Kenya and China. The recent export success resonates with the ongoing efforts in Kenya and Africa as a whole to expand their agricultural exports and tap into international markets.

China’s commitment to importing freshwater fish from Kenya, as stated by Wu Peng, Director-General of the Department of African Affairs at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, signifies a significant shift in trade dynamics. Kenya’s export of anchovies to China marks the culmination of previous developments in the fish industry, highlighting China’s growing appetite for African agricultural products, ranging from anchovies to other fish products.

In June, Kenya commenced the export of anchovies to China, starting with a 315kg batch. The landmark event took place during the third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo, emphasizing China’s determination to diversify its sources of high-quality food and agricultural products. This mirrors previous reports on the evolving trade relationships between China and Africa, where African nations strive to meet China’s increasing demand for their produce.

READ: Kenya Ramps Up support for Fish Industry in a Move to Boost GDP

The successful export of Kenyan ‘omena’ was facilitated by Huawen Food, a Kenyan subsidiary of the Jinzai Food Group. The company, based in Kwale on Kenya’s coast, collaborates with local fishermen to source ‘omena’ for their processing plant.

Huawen Food’s value addition to ‘omena’ involves the infusion of various ingredients, including vegetable oil, onions, spices, sauce, and chili, to create snacks in 12-gram packages. The process has resulted in a final product that is distributed in China and sold in more than 30 countries worldwide, underscoring the global reach of African agricultural products.

In Kenya, these value-added anchovies are available at selected supermarkets, priced at an average of $6 per packet. The move towards value addition aligns with the ongoing efforts in Kenya’s agricultural sector to increase the value of their exports and capture a larger share of the international market.

Anchovies have found a versatile place in Chinese cuisine, featuring in a wide range of dishes from stir-fries to street snacks, and salads to heartier meals like anchovy fried rice. The trend showcases the adaptability of African agricultural products to diverse culinary traditions.

However, this success story also highlights the challenges facing Kenya’s local fish industry. Dwindling fish stocks have led to a heavy reliance on Chinese fish imports, valued at over 2 billion Kenyan Shillings and accounting for more than 80 percent of the Kenyan fish import market. This echos calls for the imposition of a 20 percent excise duty on imported fish to safeguard the interests of local fishermen.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Email us with any inquiries or questions.

Connect with us on our social networks: