DECEMEBR ISSUE 2 2010

HAK 10th Workshop on Sustainable Horticultural Production in the Tropics

The Horticultural Association of Kenya (HAK) held their 10th anniversary workshop at the African Institute for Capacity Development (Aicad) on 8th December 2010 at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) to discuss value chains of ornamentals for local and export markets. Kenya Flower Council (KFC) was invited as guest of honor to officially open the workshop.

The workshop presented an opportunity for participants to examine and analyze the status of the value chains of ornamental plants within the tropical environment, with main focus in Kenya.

The presentations focused on the impeding issues in horticultural production revealed by research work. The workshop brought out that the problem-based learning and research work need to impress the higher institutions of learning to be able to provide workmanship that can solve problems related to production of cut-flowers and ornamentals for example, the research student can identify agro bacteria as a problem in the production of roses. In this regard, the student prepares a proposal with an aim based on the problem. Other than the research work being interesting the outcome becomes relevant to the sector and it will be handy to the growers.

According to Dr. John Wesonga, Chairman HAK, there is a gap between research work done at the higher institutions of learning and the growers where the results can be applied for example breeding of rose varieties through identification of molecular markers by molecular science students where research has shown that there are genes that can be used to develop varieties that are resistant to powdery mildew. There are a lot of opportunities that are being presented by the masters and PhD students’ research work that can solve most of the horticultural produce production activities. He called for collaboration between the higher learning institutions and growers to foster these benefits and use them locally and even beyond.

During the workshop, KFC shed light on the current issues that are negatively impacting on the cut-flowers and ornamental production and marketing in Kenya for the export market. Agro-bacteria was observed as one of the main areas where research work can be of much help in flower production.

other challenges impacting negatively on the development of the horticulture industry include high direct and indirect costs of accreditation and certification, high cost of compliance, insufficient demand for certified products, multiplicity of standards, stringent requirements on export documents, high levy charges and Unpredictable market – economic crisis, weather conditions  among others.

The way forward

There is a lot of knowledge and results of research work that is not being used locally for the benefit of our producers. Collaboration with institutions that are close with growers such as KFC can be used as a link to disseminate the results of research to the growers in the areas of interest.

KFC Certification Committee meeting on 8th December 2010

The KFC Certification Committee met on 8th December 2010 for the last quarter of year 2010 certification process.  Eleven farms were presented to the Certification Committee and all approved for Silver Re-certification.  The Committee noted an overall improvement in compliance in the farms presented.  The farms included:-

  1. Harvest Ltd.
  2. Liki River Ltd.
  3. Longonot Horticulture Ltd.
  4. Red Lands Roses Ltd.
  5. Waridi Ltd.
  6. Pollen Ltd.
  7. Hamwe Ltd.
  8. Kariki Ltd.
  9. Livewire Ltd.
  10. Primarosa Ltd.
  11. Gatoka Ltd.

Italian Delegation Visits Kenya

A delegation of investors from Italy visited the Kenya Flower Council on 9th December 2010. The delegation’s aim was to explore and promote business investment between Kenya and Italy in all fields, such as agriculture, engineering, construction among others. They want Kenyan flower farms to have partnerships with companies in Italy where they will participate in match making programs to bring together the investors from both countries that is, buyers and exporters.

The delegation was made up of:

Website: www.gruppocestari.com

A follow-up will be done to further explore possibilities of partnership programs between KFC and the investors.

Growers to pay Packaging Tax

Import Handling Organizations will have to start implementing a levy towards their growers in 2011 to cover the packaging tax. They will implement a levy of € 0.18 /1,000 stems. This levy will be charged 4 times per year over the handled stems, in the weeks 10, 22, 40, 01.

In a letter written by FloraHolland, in 2008 the Dutch Tax Administrations announced the intention to implement a tax on packaging materials for all industrial companies in The Netherlands, including the flower industry. Since then, FloraHolland has put great effort in discussions with the authorities to try to prevent high taxes in the international flower chain and/or huge administrative burdens.

Although FloraHolland has not been able to prevent the tax as a whole, they have limited the tax, and have prevented a difficult and expensive administrative system regarding the tax return.

In 2008, 2009 and 2010 Import Handling organization decided not to implement a levy towards growers, unlike other parties in the industry. Flora Holland’s effort and aim was to prevent the negative consequences of this tax towards growers.

During the course of 2010 FloraHolland has tried again to limit the tax for the industry, but their discussions were not as successful as they hoped for: in 2011 they expect the same tax as in 2010.

Please contact your contact person of your Import Handling organization for more information.

Public Holidays in December

Kenya Flower Council would like to clarify on the Public Holidays in December.  We refer specifically to Jamhuri Day (12th December, 2010) and Boxing day (26th December, 2010) – both which fall on Sunday.

We wish to advice that under the Public Holidays Act, where a holiday falls on a Sunday, the holiday is celebrated on the next working day.  Therefore Monday, 13th and Monday, 27th December, 2010 will be public holidays.

The new Constitution has not changed this position as outlined in the Public Holidays Act.

KFC offices will remain closed from Thursday 23rd December, 2010 until Sunday, 2nd January, 2011. We will resume work on Monday 3rd, January 2011.

We wish you all happy Holidays.

New internet site www.flowerfocus.info keeps flower growers updated

Flowerfocus is a new website specially developed for owners, managers and growers in the flower industry in Kenya, Ethiopia, Colombia and Ecuador. Key features of the site include: up-to-date information on production, growing technology, post harvest technology, transport, marketing and trade. The site provides the latest market information, interviews with colleague growers, traders and access to the latest research from research stations and universities worldwide. The initiator of the site is Uko Reinders, is a former editor of Flower Tech and the Dutch magazine Vakblad voor de Bloemisterij. Find out more at www.flowerfocus.info .

Lowering Cholesterol

By: AAR Health Services Ltd.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is made in the body by the liver. Cholesterol forms part of every cell in the body and serves many vital functions.

Most people with cholesterol issues are unaware they have a problem until symptoms occur. To battle cholesterol you must follow “know your enemy rule”.  This means you must first know what cholesterol is, what is good and bad cholesterol and what is the healthy level of good cholesterol to have in your body.

Making gradual and permanent changes in your diet and lifestyle can help you lower your cholesterol levels. Not only will these changes reduce your risk for developing heart disease, but they will also reduce your risk for other serious conditions such as high blood pressure, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.

Making gradual and permanent changes in your diet and lifestyle can help you lower your cholesterol levels. Not only will these changes reduce your risk for developing heart disease, but they will also reduce your risk for other serious conditions such as high blood pressure, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.

The main lifestyle changes to help you lower your cholesterol levels are:

• Reduce fat and cholesterol in your diet.

• Eat more foods rich in carbohydrates and fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

• Increase your level of physical activity.

• Maintain a healthy body weight.

In addition to lowering cholesterol levels, if you smoke cigarettes or have high blood pressure, quitting smoking or moderating your sodium intake can also significantly reduce risk for heart disease.

Treatment of high cholesterol

Self-help

Healthy eating can reduce cholesterol. Your diet should be low in saturated fats. Saturated fat is the main dietary cause of high blood cholesterol. It is found mostly in foods from animals e.g. beef, beef fat, veal, lamb, pork, lard, poultry fat etc. Foods from plants that contain saturated fat include coconut, coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil (often called tropical oils), and cocoa butter. Some foods contain cholesterol. These foods include eggs, prawns, liver and kidneys. This type of cholesterol is known as dietary cholesterol and it has a much lower effect on blood cholesterol than saturated fat in your diet. You don’t need to cut down on these foods unless your doctor has advised you to.

It’s also important to eat plenty of fibre, especially soluble fibre, which is thought to lower cholesterol. Soluble fibre is found in fruits and vegetables, beans and oats. Aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Foods containing substances called plant sterols/stanols (naturally occurring substances found in small quantities in many fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, cereals and legumes) may help to lower cholesterol.

If you’re overweight, an excess weight loss plan may help you to reduce your LDL levels (bad cholesterol) and increase your HDL levels (good cholesterol). Increasing your physical activity may enhance the cholesterol-lowering effects of diet.

Medication

Your GP may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medicines if you already have heart disease, or are at high risk of getting it because you have other risk factors. The aim of treatment is to reduce your total cholesterol levels to less than 5mmol/L.

The main group of medicines for lowering cholesterol is the statins. Available statins include atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), pravastatin (Lipostat), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor). They work by reducing the production of cholesterol in the liver. These medicines can have side-effects such as indigestion and muscle pains. Other types of medicines to reduce cholesterol include fibrates, nicotinic acid and cholesterol-absorption inhibitors such as ezetimibe (Ezetrol), but these are generally less effective than statins or have more side-effects. Your GP can tell you more about these medicines and suggest the most suitable treatment for you.

Prevention of high cholesterol

You may be able to prevent the development of high cholesterol by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, stopping smoking, not drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and taking regular exercise. However, if your family has a history of high cholesterol, it may be difficult to prevent yourself from having it too.

When making changes, you need to pace yourself. Make adjustments to your way of living in whatever order is easiest and don’t rush. Gradual change is more likely to be permanent than many rapid and drastic changes. When you change your diet or exercise routine, don’t think of it as going on a temporary diet or exercise program. Instead, think of it as adopting a healthier way of living to continue for life.

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