February 2011 Issue 1

From the KFC Board

Mr. Billy Coulson from Nini Farm in Naivasha and Mr. Simon van den Berg from Timaflor- Mt. Kenya, have joined the KFC Board of Directors. Mr. van den Berg takes over from Mr. Tim Hobbs who agreed to continue serving on the Board as an Alternate Director to Simon.

Upcoming water standard

A new water standard, sponsored by the Alliance for Water Stewardship, is in development and will be discussed by stakeholders on 10th February 2011.

Union Fleurs

Kenya Flower council is a member of Union Fleurs represented by Mr. Richard Fox who attended a series of meeting in Brussels  and the following were filed:

(i)      DG Sanco: Plant Health Unit EC- proposed revision of SPSS 2008-2010:

a)        Reported on consultations with stakeholders to identify areas necessary for capacity building through FVO missions and the Kephis EU HORTICAP project. As a result the SPSS monitoring, inspection / testing capacities as well as facilities in Kenya have been enhanced.

b)        However there are concerns on the risk management, amplified by 8,000 rejections per year out of which 2000 are serious phyto issues, in a situation where the EU does not have a system to license imports and relies wholly on fulfilment of SPSS requirement for access

c)         KFC needs to study the new proposals, anticipated to be implemented in 2014 and channel any ideas through the UF.

(ii) DG Trade – Lead negotiator EAC EU EPA Negotiations:

Provided an overview of progress made to date and itemized the outstanding issues as:

a)      the phase out of 20% of goods that would retain some protection post signing of the EPA

b)      the MFN clause

c)       taxes on export (raw?) materials

d)      demand for additional development funds

He reiterated that resolution of these issues was not insurmountable as long as channels of communication remained objective and open

(iii)  DG Agriculture and rural Developmentflowers and ornamentals:

Provided information on an opportunity to access funds, to the tune of  50% of costs for promotional activities, although the process of approval is long and laborious . An example was given where Italy acquired funds to create awareness through invitations to fairs, exhibitions and seminars.

(iv)    Kenya Embassy in Brussels: The Ambassador was briefed on the relationship between UF and KFC, their roles, mandates and some achievements in the service for members. The impact of the prolonged, often seen to be wavering, ECA EU EPA negotiation was having on the Kenyan Horticultural industry. Confidence in Kenya as an investor destination for flower production is definitely waning. He pronounced the Government recognition of the socio and economic importance of the sub sector and commitment to support it. However he emphasized the need to be pragmatic from a national perspective. He detailed the outstanding issues as:

a)        The list of  protected items (sensitive list) is at 20% where as negotiations with other countries, the EU has allowed more than 50%

b)        Kenya does not agree with the MFN provision. The regional economy is an emerging one as is other overseas trade and hence the Country should not be tied to restrictive trading arrangements if there benefits in negotiating alternative terms with other countries

c)         Kenya needs the flexibility to impose taxes on raw materials to encourage and protect existing and new local industries, for example hides and skins

d)        Implementations of EPA’s signed with some countries are experiencing logistical / operational problems.

In conclusion, it was agreed that there is an urgent need to revitalize discussions in order to clear the outstanding which are not insurmountable.

Kenya Adopts the ISO/IEC 15420 International Standard

ISO/IEC 15420 international standards is an information technology – automatic identification and data capture techniques – bar code symbology specification standard.

The Technical Committee (TC) for Packaging was convened on 3rd February 2011 at KEBS headquarters to vote for the adoption of the standard as Kenya Standard (KS). 83% voted for the standard which requires 75% majority vote for it to be adopted and published for use.

This will be the first time Kenya will launch a standard through Kenya Bureau of Standard to be used locally for unique identification of goods produced in Kenya, either sold locally or internationally. Once this standard is published and implemented Kenyan goods bearing bar coding identification and data will maintain this unique identification which will be accepted internationally.

The TC noted that since a new version of this standard exists, another meeting will be required, after review, to vote for adoption of a revision of this standard so that the Kenya Standard will remain at par with the international standards.

If Kenya Bureau of Standards legislates this standard then it will mean that no product produced in Kenya will be sold locally or exported without meeting this requirement. However companies that are in the market and involved with the sale of gadgets, system and installing bar coding machines will be most hit since they will be required to implement the requirements of this standard and will be assessed by certification bodies for conformity. There is also a risk of companies selling bar coded products that will be using bar coding system that will not conform. This will be mainly due to the fact that the recognition of the product unique identification and data will not be recognized especially in international arena.

EPC and JICA to hold Export Trade Training Workshops Phase II

The Export Promotion Council, in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is organizing Export Trade Training Workshops under Phase II of JICA/EPC Trade Training Programme for SME Exporters in January – February 2011. The workshops are designed to address training needs for small and medium enterprise exporters.


Beginners Workshop Intermediate Workshop
  • Basics of export marketing
  • Quality and production control
  • Basics of packaging and labelling
  • Exploiting Internet and ICT for business
  • Export logistics and documentation
  • The roles of banks and forwarding agencies
  • Export financing
  • Export payment and settlement methods
  • Risk management and insurance
  • Export incentive
The training will cover the following in more details than in the Beginners’ Workshop

  • Identification of new export markets
  • Preparation of export marketing plan
  • Packaging and labeling
  • Branding Promoting your exports
  • E-Commerce
  • Export documentation and logistics

Dates and Venues

Training Module Venue Town Date
Beginners Kisii Kisii Town 26th – 28th Jan and 3rd – 4th Feb, 2011
Intermediate Nairobi Silver Springs Hotel 1st – 3rd February 2011
Mombasa Royal Court Hotel 7th  – 9th  February 2011
Eldoret Cicada Hotel 14th  – 16th February 2011
Kisumu Kisumu Hotel 21st – 23rd February 2011

Target Participants
The Beginners course targets potential and new SME exporters while the Intermediate course targets existing exporters. In addition Trade Support Institutions and Trade Associations involved in international trade; and Consulting firms involved in providing export trade advisory/consultancy services to SMEs would benefit.
Previous participants of trade training under Phase I and the Beginners course qualify to attend the Intermediate Module.

Participation Details
Participants are required to pay a total of Kshs 2,500 (per participant) for the five days Beginners Workshop and Kshs 3,000.00 (per participant) for the three days Intermediate Workshop. Payments should be made at least five (5) days before the event by cash or bankers cheque to Export Promotion Council.
Course materials will be provided and Certificates will be awarded to participants who attend the training for all three days and participate for a minimum of 80% of the time.

Apply to: The Export Promotion Council Tel:  020 2228534-8, 0722 205875, 0734 228534 Fax: 020 2228539/2218013, E-mail: cbe@epc.or.ke.

New Website Compares Voluntary Sustainability Standards

Exporters, producers and retailers can now compare dozens of different voluntary standards in one place. The International Trade Centre’s (ITC) new Standards Map website (www.standardsmap.org) is the first comprehensive database on voluntary standards such as Fairtrade, Forest Stewardship Council, Marine Stewardship Council, GlobalG.A.P. and others.

Standards Map covers voluntary or ‘private’ standards developed by non-governmental organizations and private entities. Compliance with these standards is not legally required by governments or regulations, but it could lead to more sustainable environmental practices or potentially open up new markets.

Standards Map was set up by ITC as private standards experienced unprecedented growth, becoming in many cases de facto requirements for southern exporters wishing to enter developed country markets. Accompanying this growth is an increasing need for information and transparency.

‘Producers and exporters in the developing world often lack information when considering whether and how to engage in more sustainable production and trade practices,’ said Patricia R. Francis, Executive Director of ITC. ‘The same applies to their support organizations, be it trade support institutions or chambers of commerce. The Standards Map website provides a clear and simple way for businesses to make decisions on voluntary standards.’

There are currently 30 standards or codes of conduct available for comparison on the website. These standards operate in more than 180 countries and collectively certify or verify over 60 product groups. Additional standards will be continually added to the website. The website will be translated into Spanish and French by the end of February 2011.

ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations and is devoted to enabling SMEs in developing countries to become more competitive in global markets and thus to speed up sustainable economic development and contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

ITC and ISO Launch Handbook on Environmental Management Systems

The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) have released a new handbook and CD to make it easier for organizations to understand and implement an environmental management system (EMS) and enhance their access to export markets.

ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems – An easy-to-use checklist for small business – Are you ready? Guides small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the requirements for the ISO standard for environmental management – ISO14001:2004.

Understanding and implementing the standard for environmental management can lead to greater export potential by satisfying consumer demand for suppliers to demonstrate compliance and good practice in environmental matters.

ITC Executive Director Patricia Francis says, ‘The benefits of positively addressing environmental issues cover the preservation of the environment, but are also linked to business performance and profitability, while improving corporate image and enhancing access to export markets.’

The handbook guides users through a 15-part checklist to determine their current environmental performance and identify the main areas for improvement. Each of the first 15 parts covers a particular stage in the EMS implementation process and provides a brief explanation of the relevant requirements and how to incorporate them into an EMS. A list of sources of potentially useful guidance and information is also provided.

Many companies have improved their operations and reduced the impact of their activities, processes, products and services on the environment by using the standard for environmental management, a systematic approach that seeks continual improvement. By the end of 2009, more than 223,000 organizations across 159 countries had been certified against ISO 14001.

One major advantage of implementing ISO 14001 is that it can be done in an organization of any size or type, since the requirements of an EMS are the same for all. ITC’s experience shows that SMEs can implement an effective EMS and realize a variety of benefits. This handbook will be of value even if the ultimate aim is not third-party certification of the organization.

The handbook and CD are available from the ITC e-shop (www.intracen.org/eshop) in English, French and Spanish.

ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations and is devoted to enabling SMEs in developing countries become more competitive in global markets and thus to speed up sustainable economic development and contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

From around the world………….

As Kenya continue to prepare for Valentines day and diversify to the US market here is a story from Miami.
MIAMI Amid the peak Valentine’s Day flower season, U.S. agents are working overtime to make sure pretty love bouquets are not used as transportation by exotic South American plant pests or cocaine traffickers.

More than eight out of every 10 cut flowers imported to the U.S. during Valentine season pass through Miami International Airport, with Colombia and Ecuador by far the largest sources of roses, chrysanthemums, gerbera daisies, Peruvian lilies and dozens of other varieties popular every Feb. 14.
Those countries are also sources for insects that could wreak havoc on American crops and gardens and for cocaine and other drugs sold on American streets. More than 272 million individual cut flowers passed through the Miami airport between Jan. 1 and Feb. 14 last year, a number officials say is certain to be surpassed in 2011.
“Right now is our peak season,” said Rolando Suliveras, port director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Miami airport. “Our workload has increased tenfold.”
At a chilly refrigerated warehouse Thursday, federal agents and agricultural specialists spot-checked hundreds of boxes of flowers, shaking them down for insects and using X-rays and other methods to detect illegal drugs.
Gerard Russo, who runs Customs and Border Protection’s agricultural operations at the airport, say it’s common for inspectors to find 90 pests a day that could be dangerous if set loose on U.S. soil. These include moths, miner flies, aphids and thrips that could thrive in the year-round warm climate of South Florida, a key source of winter vegetables ranging from tomatoes to green beans and fruit such as avocados and mangoes.
“They don’t have any natural predator insects that would feed on them here,” Russo said. “They also could impact the Everglades as an invasive species.”
Sure enough, an inspector found a tiny fly on Thursday in one box of red roses, quickly scooping it up into a vial of alcohol as a preservative. This fly, explained CBP chief agriculture specialist Michael Diblasi, could damage U.S. plants by burrowing into leaves and sucking them dry.
Usually the flowers in a particular shipment associated with a pest are quarantined and then fumigated to kill the insects. Sometimes bugs show up that haven’t been seen previously in the U.S. Russo said occasionally an insect appears that has to be sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington for positive identification.
The flower shipments containing drugs are handled differently.
Robert Hutchinson, assistant special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Miami, said if drugs are found agents usually set up a controlled delivery so they can arrest or identify people at the destination and investigate further from there.
Drug traffickers use the overwhelming wave of Valentine’s Day flower shipments as cover in hopes of getting more cocaine through in the rush, he added. Usually the drugs are inserted in boxes after they leave South American flower farms, and sometimes piles of discarded stems are found at front businesses in the U.S.
“They want to try and seize the moment,” said Hutchinson, who declined to get into specific numbers or cases. “We’ve had some very good seizures. We have more to do.”

Give your sweetheart something exotic: flowers

By: Detroit News

Changes in the industry mean that bouquet travels a long way

I wanted to talk about South America and trucks and tariffs, but first, I couldn’t help asking Wesley Berry something less practical. Wesley Berry Flowers is the area’s largest florist. It has five stores and a dozen vans and a phone room at the main office in Commerce Township where 18 people in headsets and black golf shirts take orders from across the country.

Back in 1946, when his late dad opened a store in northwest Detroit, the floral options in January were limited to the industry’s Big Three — mums, some roses from Mount Clemens and maybe a few locally grown carnations. Now Berry can stroll through a big cooler with more kinds of flowers than he can count or spell.

So … does he ever stop and smell the roses?

“Probably not, to be honest,” Berry admits. But at 53, with four decades in a sometimes thorny business, “I can tell if things are old or not when I walk in. If the temperature is off a little bit, I’ll know.”

With that settled, we moved on to telephone reception in Colombia, the advantages of building greenhouses 8,700 feet above sea level, and a bunch of other things from a Smithsonian magazine article that I read and he lived.

Flowers go global

The shift in flower power began with a graduate student’s term paper in 1967.

David Cheever of Colorado State University suggested that the savanna near the capital city of Bogota was the perfect spot to grow them: consistent temperatures, clay-rich soil, 12 hours of daily sunlight. By 1970, says Smithsonian, he and some partners produced their first crop of carnations there, bringing assembly-line techniques to a poor region only three hours by air from Miami.

At the time, the United States was producing 1.2 million blooms each year of the three major types, and importing only 100 million. By early this decade, we were growing 200 million and importing 2 billion. The industry had expanded to Ecuador, and the rose company in Mount Clemens was gone.

A key development came in 1991. Trying to create job opportunities for Colombians that didn’t involve cocaine, we lifted the import duties on their flowers. Berry says improvements in shipping were at least as important, but the bottom line is that almost every flower we buy comes from offshore — South America, the Netherlands, Kenya, Southeast Asia.

“We’re never going to grow cotton again, either,” Berry says. The world moves on. Flowers have become a global commodity, and a cheap one: Berry says he hasn’t raised his retail prices for 10 years.

Growing consistency

He has, however, raised his voice. Whenever possible, he deals with brokers, but there have been times he’s found himself barking across a sketchy connection while a grower explains that guerillas blew up a tunnel or there’s yet another four-day festival and no one is working.

In the early days, flights were inconsistent. As Berry points out, “There was nobody in Bogota you wanted to see.” It wasn’t much better from the other direction, though; if flowers flew in from California, at sky-high prices, he’d find himself at the airport at 4 a.m.

Now he routes everything through Miami, even the spiky heliconia and torch-like ginger from Hawaii. Dunked in an antifungal wash and then stored, flown and trucked at 34 degrees, flowers arrive twice a week. They last longer than in the old days, he says, come in more varieties, and often cost less.

Everything’s coming up roses. It’s just not coming from here — but that’s the way of the world.

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