Flower growers in Kenya smile all the way home
How can you appreciate the big picture, if you don’t consider the details? For the Growers in Kenya, Valentine’s Day season was a wonderful season where flower business was on top gear. Internationally, Valentine’s Day positions as the number one peak season of the year for florists. To avoid any disappointments, they serviced their orders early to meet the demand in EU, UK, USA, Japan Russia and other markets. Millions of stems were sold between 8th and 10th whereby Red was still the most popular colour although roses of other colours were available as well.
In the market place, Prices were high in the week before Valentine’s Day where Friday became the most expensive day of the week. With the rise in demand one stem costed up to €4.3 per one stem. Logistically there were no delays with the Kenyan flowers. They arrived on time unlike those from Ethiopian growers who were unlucky, because their last shipment arrived too late to be auctioned on Friday. There were no surprises during this peak season. The weather was quite great in Kenya and these favoured growers unlike Columbia who experienced a cold weather.
Locally, it was not business as usual for the flowers vendors in Nairobi and other major towns on Monday 14th February 2011, the Valentine’s Day. No need was too significant for them and no assignment was too small for the dedicated and skilful vendors who arranged their elegant flowers in beautiful designs to suit their customer’s needs. The sales were booming making it one of the best peak season of the year as lovers flocked the selling points permitted by the Municipal Councils to buy their loved once a bunch of flowers.
In Nairobi, the City Council through the Kenya Flower Council gave permits to the vendors to sell their flowers in the major streets and estates like Westlands, Highridge among others. According to Ruth Wanjiru a member of Flower Vendors Association, the prices and demand of flowers were better compared to last year. Ruth who operates from Monrovia Street said that of late the business of flowers in Kenya is coming up and Kenyans are now sharing flowers with their loved ones as gifts.
They provided everything from a comprehensive basket which ranged between Kshs 1500 to 2000 to a single stem costing between Kshs 50 to 100. A bouquet of five stems was costing Kshs 500. No matter the amount of money one had in their pocket, the vendors wouldn’t let you down. People from all walks of life were taken care of with students getting a stem of rose with Kshs 50. They know what to do, with whom to do it, why, how, where and when to do it.
Harrison Gachoka who was selling outside Kenya Cinema thanked the City Council of Nairobi for the permits since not everyone would have made it to the city market not forgetting Valentine’s Day was on a Monday, a working day.
Medef International business delegation from France to visit Kenya
A high level business delegation from MEDEF International from France will visit Kenya between 15th and 17th March 2011. The visit is a follow up of two previous events, namely, a similar visit by the same group in September, 2009 and the Kenya – France Trade Mission in September, 2010.
MEDEF international visited Kenya in 2009 to promote bilateral trade between Kenya and France. Due to the successful visit of 2009, MEDEF invited Kenyan delegation to France in 2010. It was on this mutual understanding and interest that MEDEF have once again organized another visit to Kenya.
The objective of the visit is to deepen the investment and business that were initiated during the two previous events. Additionally, the visit will serve to introduce new members in the delegation to available investment opportunities in Kenya and the region. Taking into consideration outcomes associated with previous events, the ministry working closely with the Kenya mission in Paris will be collaborating with all stakeholders to coordinate the visit.
The preparatory meetings are underway at the Ministry of foreign Affairs and the next one is scheduled to take place on 22nd February 2011 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Kenya Flower Council is attending the meetings.
Land, Water, and Food: Advancing Human Rights Due Diligence
The Institute for Human Rights and Business held a two days consultative meeting on 9th and 10th February 2011 in Naivasha to discuss the application of human rights due diligence approaches in relation to water use and land appropriation.
The Kenya Flower Council was present in this forum to showcase the best practices that member farms have heavily invested in to ensure sustainable use of resources especially water, and creation of wealth. The meeting which majorly had representation from the NGOs and Civil Society from around the world was keen to note the advances that the flower industry has engaged to ensure sustainability and respect to human rights.
While the flower industry continues to draw more criticism despite the efforts being put in place by the producers to ensure protection of human rights, it was noted that the producers and other industry players need to engage more with the civil society in various forums and share more information on the best practices at the farms to cultivate transparency and a culture of positive engagement. This shall promote and boost the arena of self-regulation.
While the pressure to grow more food has led to greater demand for fertile land by large famers and corporations, including multinational firms and foreign states, the primacy for domestic use of water under human rights law means industries and agriculture compete for a limited resource, leading to conflict between users, businesses, and farmers. While states have an obligation to ensure access to water and food, they also have to ensure that the right to work is also not infringed upon, and industries that can create jobs require both land and water.
The private sector impacts on water and food are situated within and mediated by the regulatory regime and policy choices made by individual countries. Weak regulation may however generate opportunities for profit, but it can also create potential violations of the rights to food and water, a dilemma that companies have to navigate.
The meeting emphasized on the importance for investors to continually abide by the appropriate laws, efficient use of water and dispose off water responsibly, consider water impact while deciding on the location of an investment, cooperate with other stakeholders and local communities giving water management a priority drawn from a human rights framework.
The responsibility to “respect” applies to all activities and business relationships of a company, and philanthropic activities a company has undertaken cannot compensate for human tights harms its activities may have caused.
Water being an issue growing importance on the international policy agenda, companies were encouraged to embrace The CEO Water Mandate that covers six elements: Direct Operations; Supply Chain and Watershed Management; Collective Action; Public Policy; Community Engagement; and Transparency.
PROINVEST / COM4DEV EAST AFRICA OBSERVATORY
The Kenya Flower Council alongside other Intermediary Organizations attended a training on” e-platform” – Com4Dev facilitated by ProInvest and Imani Development at the Lenana House Conference centre on 15th and 16th February 2011.
Com4dev (Community for Development) is a major initiative by PROINVEST to create an “ electronic information platform” – essentially the next generation website- to be the state of art capacity building tool for intermediary organizations. Com4Dev went on live first on 8th Dec, 2010 and was subsequently launched on Jan 26th 2011 in Brussels.
The overall objective of Com4Dev is to improve the capacity of African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Intermediary Organizations by enhancing their knowledge and understanding of global ACP private sector development issues in order to better address them. Under the Com4Dev umbrella (www.Com4Dev.org) there are specific regional sub-platforms, including the east African Business Information “Observatory” for which Imani Development of Nairobi is responsible.
The e-platform will enable the intermediary organizations to: Have a higher online visibility; identify partners, expertise and donors; Network and formulate fundable projects; retrieve, generate and exchange information and best practices; and deliver information to their members and to potential investors in ACP countries, through interaction with the six other observatories – Caribbean, West Africa, Central Africa, Pacific and Southern Africa and a pan ACP + European Union (EU).
Kenya Youth Empowerment Project (KYEP) starts training of Master Craftsmen
As part of the ongoing activities of the KYEP, training for the first phase of the initial 150 Master Craftsmen in Nairobi has commenced in order for them to offer internships in the informal sector. The training is being conducted by the Integrity Management Advisory Centre Limited (IMAC). The Project Management Unit (PMU) worked with the KEPSA Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE) Sector Board, the Micro Small Enterprises Federation (MSEF) and the Provincial Enterprise Development Office (PEDO) in formulating the Master Craftsmen recruitment process and criteria that was ready on 15th November 2010.
Sensitization, publicity and information dissemination for the recruitment exercise was done through the MSEF and PEDO registered MSE/ “Jua Kali” Associations. Thereafter a briefing meeting was held on 19th November 2010 at SOS Youth Hall, in Buru Buru-Nairobi. In attendance were 45 officials representing different associations, the KEPSA MSE Sector Board Governor, the District Enterprise Development Officer, Linda Thompson, KEPSA-KYEP Director and Eric Munyobi, KEPSA-KYEP Training Officer.
During the meeting, a total of 450 application forms were distributed with each association receiving 10 forms for its members and the return of applications was fixed for 26th November 2010. At the close of this deadline 276 applications had been returned to the KYEP Training Officer. These were then subjected to eligibility checks by KEPSA-KYEP and 158 Master Craftsmen (MCs) were found to be eligible (while 118 were non-eligible).
A pre-training workshop for MCs was held on 10th December 2010 at Kariobangi Catholic Church. The purpose of the workshop was to brief the qualifying MCs on the project, announce the commencement date for the training (i.e. 10th January 2011), announce the training venues, issuance of the “Agreement/Commitment Forms” to the 158 eligible MCs and to announce that an additional 92 MCs would be recruited and trained before May 2011. This would then bring the number of MCs to 250 as planned for Nairobi.
The workshop was addressed by the KEPSA MSE Sector Board Chairman, the Provincial Enterprise Development Officer, the IMAC Director and KEPSA-KYEP Training Officer. The return of the completed “Agreement/Commitment Forms” was set at 16th December 2010 and 120 Master Craftsmen had complied by this date.
The schedule for Phase I training for the Master Craftsmen is as follows:
Venue 1: Hotel Green Court – Latema Road, Nairobi from 24th January to 3rd February 2011 from 5.00 p.m. -8.00 p.m;
Venue 2: Shalom House – Dagoretti Corner (Opposite the National Meteorological Department), Nairobi from 31st January – 10th February 2011 from 5.00 p.m. -8.00 p.m and Venue 3: Hotel Green Court – Latema Road, Nairobi from 7th – 17th February from 5.00 p.m. -8.00 p.m.
Another group of 100 will be trained in Nairobi in April/May 2011, with an additional 250 in Mombasa and a rural location later in the year.
The procurement of training providers for Life Skills; Core Business Domains, and the sector specific training is underway. The training will form 50% of the internship, and has been designed in consultation with employers within the private sector.
Good Valentine at US auction Flowerbuyer.com
This year before Valentine’s Day, rose prices at the US internet auction Flowerbuyer.com were a lot higher than last year. In the beginning of February, the price difference was about 10% but this increased to 28% at the Friday auction, just before Valentine’s Day. According to Cor Keeren, CEO of Flowerbuyer.com, one of the reasons for the price increase is the better economic situation in the US and the fact that Valentine’s Day fell on a Monday, which also had a positive effect on the demand.
Prices also got affected by the lower supply, which was due to the cold weather in Colombia, Ecuador and farm closures. The Colombians could harvest the Valentine roses just in time, but in Ecuador in some cases the delay was too much to be ready before February 7, which was about the latest shipping date to be in time for the big day. Due to the weather, some of the pinched varieties did not produce on time. Another reason for lesser supply was due to the closure of several farms, mostly in Colombia but also, to a lesser degree, in Ecuador. In previous market contractions, production was almost always taken over by other flower-producing farms nearby but this was not the case this time and production drastically reduced. On the other hand, although the closed acreage is considerable, the percentage is probably not so significant.
The asking prices for red roses in general were $ 0.01 per cm + $ 0.40 f.o.b. originating city. For the other colours, the asking price was $ 0.01 per cm. What the growers ultimately negotiated with their buyers is of course a well kept secret. Unlike roses, the other products were in very good supply and the average purchase price was about 6% lower than last year. Specifically, over supply of Gypsophila Carnations dragged the average prices down.
FloraHolland Tradepark Bremen launched on 14 February
FLORAHOLLAND, (press release) — Monday, the 14th of February, FloraHolland has brought Tradepark Bremen in Germany into service. The Tradepark is a logistics center which provides supporting facilities and logistics services. It has arisen from an association between FloraHolland and the VGB (Association of Wholesalers in Flower Nursery Products). This is the first time that FloraHolland has opened a logistics support center outside the Netherlands. Tradepark Bremen caters to the increasing international flows in the floriculture industry. Its launch in February gives customers the chance to make use of the services during the busy spring period. The Tradepark will be officially opened later this year.
Opportunities for growers and traders
“Having a logistics support center (hub) will make it possible to organize international flows faster, more efficiently, and thus less expensively,” says Rens Buchwaldt, Logistics, Information Technology & Automation Director at FloraHolland. “The Tradepark makes it possible to do something about the constantly rising costs in the retail chain. At the same time, we hope to extend the assortment with products from northern Germany and to keep the FloraHolland marketplace attractive. By lowering the chain costs and by remaining an attractive marketplace, Dutch exporters will be able to reinforce their position in the chain. This is in the interests of our members, as well as those of the international position of the Dutch floriculture industry.”
By using Tradepark Bremen, exporters can bundle volumes and shorten delivery times to their customers. Local growers who want to deliver their products at Dutch exporters or the auctions can also make use of the Tradepark. Bremen, which is the center of the northern German production area and is surrounded by a large number of producers and customers, is an ideal location for a hub.
“In northern Germany, we’re beginning with the launch of a small, initial pilot. Then we will monitor its development. The fact remains that we will have to adjust the logistics in the international floriculture chain to the new and changing market conditions. With the launch of a Tradepark in Bremen, we are taking the first steps towards this, with the goal to reinforce the competitive position of our members,” says Buchwaldt.
Choice in logistics services
Tradepark Bremen is offering various supporting services. Customers can make use of logistical processing operations, a container depot for collecting and returning empty CC-containers, and shuttle services by floriculture transporters to and from the Tradepark.
Further information on Tradepark Bremen can be found at www.tradeparkbremen.de
Mother’s Day – The Tradition of Mothering Sunday
Ever wondered why we celebrate Mother’s Day? Who began the festivities? Did sons and daughters from tribes pick flowers from the fields to bring to their mum’s?
PRLog (Press Release) – When it comes to Mothering Sunday in the UK we think of cards, flowers and lavish gifts for our mums (and sometimes grandmothers) to show them how much we care. The history of Mother’s Day actually dates back centuries to ancient Greece. The Greeks held celebrations in honour of their mother of the gods and heavenly queen – Rhea. The Romans also adopted a similar tradition with a three-day celebration of their mother goddess Cybele every year.
Although the experts are not completely sure when the tradition of Mothers day came to the UK, they have discovered family celebrations honouring mum’s dating back to the medieval times in Europe. However, in England during early Christianity mother’s day festivities are said to have begun on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Back then Mother’s festival is believed to have been in honour of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
Other experts believe that the celebration of mothers became Mothering Sunday back when young children would leave home to learn a trade or work as servants in the homes of the wealthy. As transportation home was rare and expensive these children did not get to see their family for most of the year. For the duration of Lent, before Easter feasts preparations required servants to be back at work, children would return to their families for the weekend.
Bringing gifts to our mothers on this day is, contrary to popular belief, also a tradition from these times.
On their walk home to see their families’ children often picked the spring flowers to give to their mothers when they arrived home. They also often brought gifts which they had worked for such as cakes which the whole family could enjoy. On Sunday the family would attend church and present the gifts to their mums and make offerings to the church. They would then feat upon these gifts on the day named as ‘Mothering Sunday’.
This tradition of flowers, gifts and foods is a tradition you should ensure you don’t forget this Mothers Day (3rd April 2011)! Why not show your mother just how much you appreciate her with something slightly different to the traditional flowers.
NL: Huge savings on greenhouse pesticides with new spraying technique
Greenhouse crop producers have been under increasing pressure to reduce their use of pesticides. The easiest way to reduce pesticide use and improve their crop quality is to spray less pesticides. But how will this be possible?
The answer can be found in an unique air-assisted spraying technique used within the Micothon EX spraying robot, developed especially for plastic greenhouses. According to Micothon the spraying result depends 50% on the plant protection products and 50% on the spraying technique. In other words: you are better off giving your crop an expert spraying with a friendly plant protection product than spraying it badly with a good quality agent.
Growers realize that the costs of chemical crop protection are higher than ever. At the same time, buyers, customers and governments are increasingly asking for minimal residue levels. Spraying with the Micothon EX will make it possible to meet these demands and to improve the results of biological controls and bio-rational pesticides.
“Over the past few years we managed to build a full automatic tube/rail spraying robot with 79% better spraying results for glass greenhouses,” said Theo Straathof, general manager of Micothon International. “Dutch growers in other parts of the world asked us to produce a machine with the same spraying technique that can be used in plastic greenhouses.”
“The machine is automatically propelled, which results in uniform coverage of the foliage and improved working conditions. Because of the reduction in plant protecting products use, growers can recoup the cost of this investment in less than 1.5 years.”
The first greenhouse spraying robots are sold to Maridadi Flowers, Naivasha Kenya and Latitude 0º Farms, Ecuador.
For more information visit www.micothon.com.