twitter RSS Feed linkedin acp contact

Kenyan Flower farmers look forward to bloom period

Smallholder flower farming is set to be a rapidly growing market in Kenya, says Agriculture Secretary Wilson Songa

“There are 150 medium and large scale flower farmers and we want to increase the numbers under the medium-term Agriculture Development Sector Strategy 2010-2020, which seeks to prepare the sector to contribute its role in the attainment of the vision 2030,” said Mr Songa, speaking at a smallholder flowers stakeholders workshop in Thika recently.

Key dates for Kenya’s flower market are Mother’s Day, Christmas, New Year and the most valuable day of the year to the flower industry, Valentines Day. A single rose stem can cost up to Sh150 on Valentines Day, while on a regular day one can get a bunch of 20 stems for the same price. Kenya is one of the world’s top exporters of cut flowers, and the horticulture industry is consistently among the top of the country’s foreign exchange earners, bringing in $1.3bn in 2009. However, local industry is yet to take off; the Kenya Flower Council estimates that only approximately five per cent of the total volume produced in Kenya is sold locally. This is an area which the Flower Council wishes to address over the next few years.

Local industry

In Nairobi, there are about 200 flower vendors, whose turnover last year was estimated to be approximately three million shillings. The local industry relies on burials, weddings and the supply of hotels and offices as the Kenyan culture does not deem the buying of flowers as particularly important.

The interesting irony is that although Kenya is one of the world’s top exporters of cut flowers, and the horticulture industry is consistently among the top of the countries foreign exchange earners, Kenyan men prefer not to send flowers. The growing market is due mostly to women at this stage. When President Mwai Kibaki visited the Nakuru Agricultural Show last year, he was impressed to see at close range what has brought Kenya so much fame outside of East Africa.

Worldwide

With Valentines Day being so financially crucial to the success of the flower industry, events like the March 2010 Iceland volcano eruption illustrate just how important Kenya is to the worldwide flower market. Prices increased by 50 per cent, a development which the Dutch Auctions attributed to the absence of the Kenyan rose.

Similarly, in early 2008 when roads to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and farm activities were disrupted by post-election violence, the industry is said to have lost more than Ksh10bn and prices in the markets rocketed. When a country supplies nearly 40 per cent of all flowers sold in Europe, a break in supply only highlights the reliance the rest of the world has on Kenya.

The future

So what of the future? The flower council wants the Nairobi city council to establish cold storage markets for flowers and allow the setting up of branded kiosks where vendors can sell them to encourage the public to appreciate flowers. “The storage facilities would greatly help in keeping the flowers fresh so that when people buy them, they can last longer,” said council chairman Erastus Mureithi who added that in Europe, flower kiosks can be seen everywhere, yet in Kenya, the flower country, there is nothing to showcase them. In addition, the Flower Council is also keen to see flower kiosks in international airports. As Kenya gradually comes to terms with the financial opportunities in the domestic market, the council expect to see a change in attitudes to the humble flower.

Ewan Thomson


LATEST NEWS IN Horticulture

Global fava bean protein market projected at US$85.6mn by 2032

Global fava bean protein market projecte…

The global fava bean protein market is projected to expand at a steady annual growth rate of 4.2% to be valued at US$85.6mn by 2032, according to market research provider...

Pest management restores Africa’s mango markets

Pest management restores Africa’s mango …

The Alien Invasive Fruit Flies project in Southern Africa, supported by the International Development Research Centre and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, has come up with five technologies...

Sustainable fruit at the heart of South African blueberry drive

Sustainable fruit at the heart of South …

South African blueberry growers are stepping up their promotional drive in Germany by highlighting the quality and sustainability credentials of their fruit

Fruit breeding, the answer to climate change?

Fruit breeding, the answer to climate ch…

Dr Chris Owens, IFG's lead plant breeder, speaks with Tulana Nayak from African Farming, about the challenges of fruit breeding and what the future holds.

South African campaign targets UK consumers with excellent plum quality

South African campaign targets UK consum…

South African plum growers have reported excellent crop quality this season as they look to inspire UK consumers to choose their fruit

Morocco to record a 12% rise in citrus fruit production

Morocco to record a 12% rise in citrus f…

Citrus fruit production in Morocco is expected to reach an estimated 2.55 mmt in 2021/2022, registering a 12% rise from the previous period

Prev Next

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES - Horticulture

Fontana Flowers to invest US$11mn in Ethiopia

Fontana Flowers to invest US$11mn in Eth…

Fontana Flowers plc (Fontana) has announced plans to invest US$11mn to start a horticulture farm in Ethiopia

Fruit producers and exporters form AFRUIBANA to champion interest in international trade

Fruit producers and exporters form AFRUI…

Fruit producers and exporters from Cameroon, the Ivory Coast and Ghana have officially launched AFRUIBANA, an association that will allow fruit producers on the continent to combine their efforts with...

Raisins South Africa prioritises social wellbeing and environmental strategies

Raisins South Africa prioritises social …

Raisins South Africa is working to provide environmental integrity and social wellbeing for their local communities in order to ensure future sustainability for the South African dried fruit industry

Kenya to host IFTEX 2014

Kenya to host IFTEX 2014

The International Flower Trade Expo (IFTEX) will take place between 4-6 June 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya

Priva partners with Aranet to deploy wireless technology in greenhouses

Priva partners with Aranet to deploy wir…

Priva and Aranet have partnered to enable integrated wireless technology, aiming to bridge the gap between wireless sensors platforms and other data sources in greenhouses

World Bank issues grant to Kenyan coffee farmers

World Bank issues grant to Kenyan coffee…

Coffee farmers in the Mount Elgon District, located in the Western Province of Kenya, have received nearly US$60,000 funding from the World Bank 

CBN banks on SMEs to improve agriculture sector in Nigeria

CBN banks on SMEs to improve agriculture…

The bankers committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have decided to grant US$1.2bn to Nigeria’s agriculture sector by supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

Dubai show to highlight floristry sector growth

Dubai show to highlight floristry sector…

One of the largest horticultural trade shows in the Middle East has moved to a new venue, as it looks to accommodate a growing number of exhibitors from across Africa,...

East African countries reach duty-free trade deal with EU

East African countries reach duty-free t…

Five East African countries have reached a trade agreement with the European Union (EU) to renew a duty-free export regime, which allows the East African States to sell fruits, vegetables...

Surge in Kenyan horticultural earnings

Surge in Kenyan horticultural earnings

Kenya made US$1.1 billion from the flower, fruit, vegetable and nut exports in 2011, according to a report by USAID Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project (KHCP)

Pest management restores Africa’s mango markets

Pest management restores Africa’s mango …

The Alien Invasive Fruit Flies project in Southern Africa, supported by the International Development Research Centre and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, has come up with five technologies...

Zimbabwe tobacco seed in high demand

Zimbabwe tobacco seed in high demand

Almost a tonne of tobacco seed has been sold in Zimbabwe as demand for the commodity continues to increase, the Tobacco Research Board (TRB) revealed

Prev Next