People who make products by hand in Kenya, known as artisans, are concerned about competition from similar goods from China.
Thousands of people are known to make items to sell in a large Nairobi market.
Njoroge Macharia makes stoves known as jikos in the local Swahili language.
He said similar ovens made in China hurt his business because they are less expensive.
“The ones from China are no better than ours. Ours are really good,” said Macharia, who has been making stoves for 40 years.
Data shows that in 2021 Kenya imported nearly $4 billion worth of goods from China but only sent $1.5 billion to Asia.
Magdalena Vivi sold kitchen Items. She said non-stick pots sourced from outside Kenya are more popular than steel or aluminum pots and pans made in Kenya.
She said she saw no non-stick items made in Kenya.
A study by the African Union shows that Africa is one of China’s largest markets. Mary Wambui is one shopper who said she prefers the less expensive items from China.
“Every time you come here, something new has emerged,” she said.
Wohoro Ndhoho is an economist in Kenya. He announced a shortage automation Technology means that most products made by Kenyans are handmade. For a product like a bread pan, this means that it takes a Kenyan one hour to make the pan. In the same hour, a Chinese factory can make 1,000, he said.
The national organization representing artisans who sell their wares in Kenya’s markets says imports from China are hurting the country’s economy. Charles Kalomba is the Secretary General of the organization. He said the people he represents make high-quality stoves that save energy. The stoves from China may look the same, but they are a little different.
Kenyan leaders hope to negotiate a trade deal that will allow more sales to China. Wilfred Marube is Kenya’s export manager promotion and branding Agency. He said China and Kenya reached a cooperation agreement in January. Now the two nations are working to find a way to open China’s market to Kenyan agricultural products.
One looking forward to more sales to China is Tiku Shah, who sells high quality frozen products avocados. Shah said the challenge for Kenya is to increase the number of avocados it can grow and ship to China and its 1.4 billion people.
“A lot of us are not ready for that scale of the business,” Shah said. “It’s big business on a big scale. It requires a lot of investment, and it requires a lot involved market focus.”
In 2020, China ranked 11thth on the list of Kenya’s export destinations, say national data. With the new agreements, Kenya hopes China will move up that list.
I’m Dan Friedell.
VOA’s Victoria Amunga wrote this story. Dan Friedell adapted it for English learning.
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words in this story
Kitchen – n. the place in the household where food is prepared
automation – n. the act of running something like a factory or machine using machines or robots instead of humans
support financially – v. draw people’s attention to something, e.g. B. a new product
brand– n. a category of products manufactured by a specific company or manufacturer
avocado – n. a fruit with rough dark green or purple skin, smooth light green flesh and a large seed in the center – often used before another noun
scale – n. the size of something in relation to something else
involved – adj. have a very strong support or loyalty to a cause or plan
focus – n. the act of paying attention to something