On-the-Ground Updates

Fish imports from China drop by half to US $9 Million for Kenya

Shelly Chen
Published Nov 16, 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has handed Kenyan fishermen an unexpected boon after fish imports from China dropped to 9 million USD in the last nine months of the year as of November 16, 2020, compared to the 18 million USD in 2019.
Data on fish trade from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) obtained by the Nation shows that China's fish exports to Kenya dropped by almost 50 percent as a result of the global supply chain disruption occasioned by the pandemic.

In the seven months to September 2020, Kenya imported 8,900 tonnes of fresh chilled fish worth 9 million USD from Beijing, a drop from 18, 074 tonnes worth 18 million USD in 2019.

This is the second time Chinese fish imports have dropped in the last eight years as of 2020, having previously recorded near double digit growth, adding impetus to concerns that the Asian nation is flooding the local market with sea food to the detriment of local fishermen.

In 2018, Kenya bought 21 million USD worth of frozen fish from China. Despite the drop, China still accounted for almost 90 percent of the fish imports into the country. Frozen tilapia and mackerel were the most imported products. The data also shows that Nairobi took in large amounts of smoked, dried and salted fish from China.

The Nation understands that two biggest importers of Chinese fish recorded zero imports between November and June of 2020, with the country facing serious fish shortages in the last three months.
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