February 2011 Issue 2


The Kenya Flower Council Technical Committee met on 11th February 2011 for the first time in 2011. The committee meets once every quarter to deliberate on technical issues that affect the flower sector and are of interest to members.

Currently, the KFC data base is able to calculate chemical active ingredients per M2 per crop per year. The upper limits have already been set for roses and carnations. There is ongoing data collection and evaluation to see the trends in chemical and fertilizer active ingredient usage per M2 per crop per year to guide setting upper limits for the rest of the flowers and ornamentals. Accuracy of data uploaded onto the KFC data base was given great importance so that we are able to be at par with other players at the international arena.

The upcoming water and energy parameters are going to be of great importance now that we have the water and carbon footprint standards in place. The market is earmarked to demand that we account for water per stem exported and the carbon dioxide and related gases that are generated due to the horticultural produce exported to the consumers abroad.


The Horticap project was funded from the EU’s Stabex resources in fulfillment of the objective of improving performance of the export oriented sub sectors of the agricultural sector. The project was launched in 30th November 2007 and ended on 31st December 2010. The purpose of the project was to enable KEPHIS achieve better service delivery in phyto-sanitary inspection and certification and to maintain and upgrade Kenyan competitiveness in the international markets.

It also aimed at improving quality of farm inputs and produce, better service delivery in analysis and certification processes, increased stakeholder awareness on market quality regulations and ensuring food safety.

The beneficiaries of the project

Mainly to target large scale and small scale farmers.

  • HCDA
  • PCPB
  • KFAP (Kenya Farmers Association Programme
  • FPEAK (Fresh Produce Export Association of Kenya)
  • KFC (Kenya Flower Council)

Components of the project

  1. Capacity Building and Awareness Raising

Funds were allocated to boost the capacity building and training of KEPHIS staff and will enable the staff create awareness to other partners and target groups. Evaluators indicated that the laboratory still requires some funds for its completion especially installation of equipment required for it to be operational. As of now the laboratory is not ready for use and the estimated date of completion is 15th February 2011.

They indicated that most of the KEPHIS staff were observed to be competent in their work. However, more funds is required for capacity building and training the same staff

  1. Co-ordination

The evaluators indicated that there was a good co-ordination between KEPHIS and other stakeholders e.g. HCDA

  1. Surveillance

The plant health laboratory currently in use is not yet accredited and the scope of accreditation on virology does not include methods for cut flowers which is the mostly destined to EU markets.  KEPHIS Managing Director Dr. James Onsando indicated that this was due to the little space available in the current laboratory and once the new constructed laboratory is completed, then the accreditation body will accredit the Laboratory and expand the scope of accreditation. KEPHIS is working with FERA, UK. (Food and Environment Research Agency) in smoothing the analysis workload and in the accreditation process for the plant health laboratory.

  1. Information System

Evaluators indicated that the equipments for disseminating information are available. However, whenever, the IT department upgrade their system they should consider enabling the other users understand the system for it to be more user friendly.

  1. Project Management

From the evaluators’ point of view, the project was well managed, since the project took the shortest time although the project is not yet complete.

Still saying it with flowers

Love may be free, but Valentine’s Day can sure get expensive. Its days away, making this the busiest time of year for florists locally and internationally who arrange and deliver thousands of blooms for the day of romance. Growers are right in the heat of it with these being one of the peak seasons of the year where the demand and prices are high. Internationally, Valentine’s Day positions as the number one holiday for florists.

Growers in Kenya have already serviced their orders early enough to meet the demand. According to Mr. Joost Zuurbier managing Director of Bilashaka Flowers they are hopeful that the sales will be better than last year.

Local Florists are well armed ready to paint Nairobi and other major towns with flowers. The chairman of Flower Vendors Association Mr. Elvis Wainaina says they have already made their orders from the farms, to satisfy the local market. He urged Kenyans to embrace the culture of buying flowers for their loved ones. Locally, the flower business continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Although there are no statistics yet, it is quite clear that the campaign to promote a local culture for flowers, under the support of Kenya Flower Council “soko la maua” initiative, has led to a rise in local consumption of flowers. At the local supermarkets, shelves for flowers are expanding while florists report increasing business and more flower shops have opened up in all major shopping areas in Nairobi. Hopefully, this will extend to other towns in the country.

Thousands of stems will be sold between Friday and Monday whereby Red is still the most popular color although roses of other colors are available as well for example yellow, pink among others.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!

The language of flowers

The red rose symbolizes pleasure and love. The rose was used as a major ingredient in love potions in Greek mythology.

The white rose stands for purity, innocence and peace. It’s the ideal rose to represent young love and a heavenly love. They’re a great colour to use at weddings as they represent all the things fitting to the occasion, or you could use this rose to propose to your lover.

The yellow rose represents friendship, happiness and hope. It’s a lovely flower that you can use to show y our appreciation of a friendship without insinuating romance.

The cheerful daisy conveys the message of loyal love and the simplicity of this message can be conveyed in any colour daisy.

The Calla lily represents magnificence and beauty and, because they’re also white, purity. They’re also elegant and simple.

Sunflowers denote pure thoughts, dedication and simple adoration — just as these beautiful flowers face the sun’s rays throughout the day.

The protea, particularly the King Protea, stands for transformation and change, and as it’s South Africa’s national flower, this is certainly an appropriate meaning and can symbolize your transition from one chapter of your lives to another, especially if 2011 is the year you’re planning to get married or have children.

The delicate orchid suggests exotic beauty and proud and glorious femininity.

Tulips signify the perfect love and are themselves a perfect declaration of love with their simple two-petal structure and thick, light-green stem. Interestingly, they also suggest fame — so if you have a lover who aspires to celebrity, this is the perfect flower for them.

Sweet peas are not only beautifully fragrant; they also symbolize delicate pleasure and bliss. They’re fun and freshen up a room, and raise the spirits too.

EU and Central African negotiators discuss the way forward in EPA’s talks

European and Central African negotiators met at technical level in Brussels from 31 January to 4th February 2011 to re-launch EPA negotiations. There had been no negotiation round since February 2009. Both parties reaffirmed their intention to conclude negotiations for a regional comprehensive agreement by the end of 2011, and established a roadmap for the rest of the year. Market access, rules of origin, services and accompanying measures were tabled for discussion. Working groups will meet in March and April in Central Africa and next negotiation round will take place in early June.

A goods-only interim EPA was initialed in December 2007 and then signed on 15 January 2009 between the EU and Cameroon, the only Central African country which decided to negotiate an interim agreement.

Bilashaka Keeps on Moving

Thousands of words cannot relate the writing on the wall. It’s been ten years since Bilashaka started growing flowers in Kenya under the good management of Mr. Joost Zuurbier the Managing Director.  With 28ha under production the farm is located in Naivasha.  They have a sister company, Van Kleef that specializes in breeding of over 200 varieties of roses.

The aspirations of Bilashaka are directed towards an assessment of their daily operations impact to their customers, workers, neighbours and the environment. In particular they care for effects of pesticides and fertilizers on spray operators, neighbours, consumers, fauna and flora and water resources. They have already taken on measures that minimize health hazards and environmental dilapidation.

The company has grown tremendously with progressive technologies being put into place for example the solar project which they use to heat water and the steam is later used in the greenhouses to control botrytis and also downy mildew. With this technology, positive results have been noted where there is high production and also usage of less chemicals in the green houses.

The farm has a workforce of 478 employees whose welfare is highly valued. They are provided with protective clothing as well as training on health and safety. This among others has rated the farm as one of the most professional grower in Kenya having put human and environment well being at heart.

Bilashaka is a member of Kenya Flower Council where they are silver certified.  This has been achieved through stringent measures in environmental protection, adherence to labour laws and workers rights and waste disposal among others.

Currently they are growing 13 varieties of which they have introduced the red roses which they didn’t grow before. According to Mr. Joost they are expecting better sales this Valentine’s Day after the introduction of the red variety.  He said Kenyans should embrace the culture of giving their loved ones flowers and with this the local consumption will increase.

Bilashaka grow their flowers on hydroponics whereby, they recycle water used. With this medium, they are able to save about 40% of what be used under conventional irrigation. They harvest rain water and store in huge reservoirs for use during the dry seasons.

In conclusion, Bilashaka are never satisfied with the second best alternatives. They always get the job done to standards making sure they deliver.

Managing for Results Seminar

The Institute of Executive Training, Inoorero University is organizing a Managing for results seminar from 28th February-4th March 2011. The venue will be communicated later. The cost for the seminar will be Kshs. 150,000 exclusive of VAT per person. This includes all seminar materials, stationery, certificate of participation meals and accommodation.

The challenge of achieving organizational success by translating the organizations’ vision into practical implementable strategies lies on the organizational heads. They have to get the entire organization from top to bottom to share their vision and work on the same principles and processes to achieve success. Managing for Results seminar has been designed to equip organizational heads with the necessary skills and expertises to enable them achieve such success.

Dr. Ray Laferla who has trained various companies in Kenya and the Managing Director of Integrated Human Dynamics and the Deputy Chairman of Maximum Edge (PTY) Ltd will be one of the facilitators.

He has researched, developed and published internationally the Management Style Indicator, which is a unique inventory and diagnoses the strengths and weaknesses of management.

The program will enable the participants to:

  • Acquire knowledge and skills to get results through people
  • Gain insight into their own beliefs and behaviours as they apply to management
  • Enhance their performance capacity as leaders of people


  • Action Planning
  • Selecting People
  • Communicating
  • Motivating
  • Delegating
  • Developing People
  • Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Managing Effective Controls
  • Appraising Overall Performance

For more information kindly contact Diana Erukan on diana.erukan@iu.ac.ke or 3750255-8 Ext 141 or 0721-727211

Good Prices for Valentine’s Day


January 2011 was for FloraHolland one of the best January month ever. With total sales of € 300 million, the turnover was some +16% higher than the same period in 2010; and this is in spite of the fact that the sales turnover of Venlo (some € 5 million) is not anymore included.
The cut flowers sales were +20% higher than 2010, with +17% higher price, and +2.6% larger quantities.
This was all the result of mild weather throughout January 2011 in Europe compared to the severe winter weather in January 2010.

It is too early to conclude, but at the time of writing these lines it seems like going to be a good Valentine’s Day for the floriculture industry in Europe. Lovers’ day this year is on a Monday. This is a better timing than last years Sunday, when people usually do not go to work and therefore do not bestow flowers to colleagues at their workplace. Also the weather seems to be optimal for shopping. Price level at week 6 is not yet known, but weeks 4 and 5 were definitely encouraging.
Average price for cut flowers in week 4 was some 12%+ higher than the same week last year. Week 5 prices went up some 10-20% higher than week 4. Some red roses fetched high prices, above the 1 €/stem, up to a record of € 1.60.
Already in week 4 many products got prices by far higher (+40-60%) than last year. Among them: anemones, gypsophila, helianthus, lilies longiflorum, ranunculus/meadow-buttercup, and solidago. All these products were supplied in smaller quantities than last year. Roses and tulip’s quantities were higher than in 2010, and yet their price level was higher.
The impact of bad weather in North America on the Valentine’s Day shopping is not yet known. Low demand in the USA might sometimes lead to channeling extra quantities of flowers from Ecuador and Colombia to Europe, but we cannot indicate such a trend at this moment.
Traders were quite optimistic last week, some of them even speculated on “extremely high price” for the Valentine’s week.

Sources: ITC/MNS /VBN Stat Wk 5+ FlowerFocus.Info

Complete assortment and more at FloraHolland Trade Fair Naaldwijk


The FloraHolland Trade Fair Naaldwijk will be held in the city of Naaldwijk, the Netherlands, from Wednesday 9 through Friday 11 March 2011. The spring edition of this international trade fair is visited by thousands of national and international trade visitors annually. This is where supply and demand are brought together on some 13,000m2 of floor space. Here, visitors will discover a complete overview of the supply of cut flowers, plants, new products and concepts. In addition to being an excellent place to think up new ideas and see the latest trends, the FloraHolland Trade Fair Naaldwijk is a superb location for new and existing business relations to meet.

Growers of cut flowers, green and flowering indoor plants and garden plants will be presenting their products on around 500 stands. Everything at the trade fair is either immediately available or available in the future, with or without added value.

‘Premium Square’
A ‘Premium Square’ will be set up for the first time at the FloraHolland Trade Fair Naaldwijk. This is where you can find special niche products that serve as additions to the trade fair assortment on the stands. The assortment at the ‘Premium Square’ is available from the various FloraHolland locations.
Additionally, there will be products on display at the trade fair’s segment plazas on which the intermediary organization FloraHolland Connect is focused.

Opening times
The FloraHolland Trade Fair Naaldwijk will be held on FloraHolland Naaldwijk’s trade fair floor (entrances 319 and 317), and is open on Wednesday 9 March from 9:00am to 7:00pm, Thursday 10 March from 9:00am to 5:00pm, and on Friday 11 March from 9:00am to 2:00pm. Entrance is free for trade visitors.

For more information regarding the FloraHolland Trade Fair, please visit www.floraholland.com.

Lufthansa transports 34m roses for Valentine’s Day

By: Straits times

LUFTHANSA Cargo, one of the world’s largest cargo carriers, has said in a statement that it will be transporting more than 1,200 tonnes of roses for Valentine’s Day this year.

That amounts to a record number of around 34 million Valentine roses or 14 fully loaded MD-11 freighters.

Lufthansa Cargo aircraft are currently flying in roses from South America and Africa to the airline’s hub in Frankfurt/Germany.

The stopover at Frankfurt Airport is very brief. Within hours of landing, the roses are flown to consignees in Europe and beyond.

Among the major producers of fresh-cut flowers are suppliers in Kenya, Ecuador and Columbia, where the flowers are picked in the morning by rose producers and quickly transported to the airports.

Lufthansa Cargo serves all three countries with frequent weekly freighter services. Such sensitive freight requires sophisticated transport solutions to ensure the roses look dewy fresh on Valentine’s Day and for some days afterwards.

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