April Issue 4 2011

FNB issue 4

Electronic Certification System (ECS) launched
Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) officially launched the Electronic Certification System (ECS) on Tuesday 19th April 2011 at the Intercontinental Hotel Nairobi. The occasion was graced by Dr. Romano Kiome, CBS, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture.
The Electronic Phytosanitary Certification System is used to manage, maintain and view phytosanitary certificate data and generate both paper based and paperless phytosanitary certificates for the trade of plants and plants products. It provides an assurance that the product being certified meets the importing country’s requirements.
A phytosanitary certificate accompanies an export consignment to the port of entry of the importing country acting as a “passport” to the product.
The implementation of the electronic certification program has been ongoing in Kenya through the CLIENT Kenya project supported by the Netherlands government from September 2009 to March 2011.
Dr. Kiome said the system is a significant indicator of the fruitful partnership between the Government through KEPHIS and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and food Quality of the Netherlands and a milestone in trade facilitation at the international level.
He said that over the last three decades, horticulture has become one of the main foreign exchange earner where in 2010 it earned an equivalent of Kshs. 78 billion through exports and flowers accounted 50%of the total export value. He added that the CLIENT tool will provide a platform faster and efficient export processes through the use of Information and communication technology (ICT).
He thanked the Government of Netherlands for their support in the project and also to the agriculture sector noting that it is the first initiative of its kind among the members of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).
According to the Managing Director of KEPHIS Dr. James Onsando, KEPHIs issues over 146,000 certificates annually and the time spent in the manual writing and signing is significant adding that the paper certificates are permanent records that cannot be edited in an event of a mistake during the entry or if the characteristic of the consignment changes during the export process.
He said the system will enhance the capacity of KEPHIS and the process will be scaled-up to become standard efficient practice for all horticulture certification in Kenya to all destinations. The pilot project involved seven farms to test and validate the data capture, analysis and certificate issuance in the system which was a success.
In his statement, the chairman of Kenya Flower Council Hon. Dr. Erastus Mureithi commended KEPHIS for their commitment to quality service delivery to the flower industry over the years saying the institution has grown to become a world class centre of excellence, held in high esteem not only by the clients but also by peers, from across the globe.
He said the system will assist Kenyan and Netherlands inspectors in saving time for certification process, by cutting down the time spent examining certificates of routine Kenyan consignments, especially through pre-clearance procedures of consignments en route as e-certificates would be received in the Netherlands instantly.
The System will benefit the floriculture industry in Kenya by:
a) Reducing the time it takes to key in information for processing of Phytosanitary certificates.
b) Enhancing the logistics of documentation
c) Reduction of paper work
d) Reuse of information
e) Facilitating negotiations for pre-clearance procedures for Kenyan consignments in importing countries.
f) Since e-certification avoids expensive security paper used in preparing manual certificates, the Client Tool process is expected to eventually lower the cost of certification.

Hon. Mureithi also recognized the efforts to incentivize investors through various initiatives such as the duty exemption on inputs which has gone a long way in establishing the flower industry in Kenya adding that it is of paramount importance that the Kenyan Government analyses the potential of the industry to contribute to the aspirations of the Vision 2030 and indeed the MDG’s and to take the necessary measures to make it happen.
Mr. Hans Wolff, Agriculture Counselor Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands commended KEPHIS for completing the project on schedule saying the system will boost exports through decreased man hours in processing the phytosanitary certificates, provide accurate information leading to decreased interceptions and reduced incidences of fraud.

Glyphosate dipping procedure for cut Flowers and Hypericum changes in Australia
The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services (AQIS) have revised Australia’s import conditions for cut roses and Hypericum Flowers. AQIS has a mandatory requirement to devitalize imported cut roses and hypericum flowers that may be further grown from cuttings and pose the risk of providing a pathway for diseases to enter Australia.
Devitalisation is undertaken by dipping flower stems upright in a glyphosate solution for a specific period of time to render the stems non-propagatable. This treatment is undertaken in Australia by AQIS accredited treatment provider.
Australia recently reviewed the dipping method during the devitalization treatment for roses and hypericum after failed treatments were detected during routine testing of cut- flower consignments that were treated by companies overseas. The review resulted in changing the dipping depth to 5cm below the flower head down to the base of the stem.
The option of dipping cut flowers to a depth of 35cm (from the base of the stem) will be removed on 30th June 2011.
The implementation date for the changes to the treatment of imported cut roses and hypericums that were previously expected to take effect on 31st March 2011 has been extended to 30th June 2011. Dipping methodology for all other propagatable cut flowers species, other than roses and hypericums, remain the same. Dipping conditions including duration of treatment and species specific treatment dosages will continue to apply as before.

Fuel crisis to affect flower business

The chairman of Kenya Flower Council Hon. Dr. Erastus Mureithi has expressed fear that the rise in fuel cost will ruin the country’s ability to compete in the world market. He said if the situation is not contained, the cost of farm inputs and transport cost will rise, thus affecting the productivity.

“Even the airlines will start imposing a fuel surcharge on us and the cost of flowers per unit will go up making our country a minor competitor,” he said.

Hon. Mureithi said the new costs will also increase costs of other essential commodities like flour, hence adding misery to the poor.

Oserian donates 10,000 trees seedlings for the lake Naivasha catchment area

Oserian Development Company Limited, a Kenya Flower Council (KFC) Silver Certified member, has donated a total of 10,000 tree seedlings to the Lake Naivasha Growers Group (LNGG) for planting in the upper and lower catchment areas of Lake Naivasha.
The project initiated by the LNGG group, seeks to distribute over 100,000 tree seedlings to flower farms that will assist in growing of the seedlings through provision of water and labour towards the project.
Lake Naivasha has over the years been a point of concern for the government and various environmental groups like the LNGG. The group which is one of the few voluntary associations of growers in Kenya; which Oserian is a member of, has come together to ensure an environmental sustainability farming practice is adhered to along the Lake.
Oserian is actively involved in the pursuit of a holistic management plan for the Lake. Mr. Peter Zwager, the chairman of the Oserian Development Company was key in spearheading the formation of LNGG, and KFC, both self auditing bodies empowered to ensure Good Agricultural Practices and Accountability.
LNGG and KFC do not allow membership for growers who farm within Riparian Land. With its active involvement in Lake Naivasha Water Resource Association (LANAWRUA) it helps in empowering the Water Resource Association (WRUA) through the Lake Naivasha Collective Immediate Action Plan, sponsored by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), to have a Sub Catchment Management Plan as gazetted in the Water Act and a Master Plan for the Lake Naivasha Basin supported by the Government.
“As we support the sustainance of the lake we are also very keen in the conservation of all our environs, this is evident though our initiative in tree planting and reforestation in the land surrounding us. Our preservation efforts have seen the company planting thousands of indigenous trees and setting up tree nurseries to supply tree samplings to the community, and giving them education on the benefits of tree planting and preservation.” said Mr. T.G. Tsakiris Oserian’s Director of Administration.
The LNGG project will see to it that the tree seedlings are distributed to the upper and lower catchment areas of Lake Naivasha for planting. This project is done in collaboration with other stake holders such as National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), the Naivasha Municipal Council and Kenya Forest Service.

WTO Negotiators Eye “Soft Landing”
Negotiators may need to prepare a “soft landing” to salvage progress in the WTO’s decade-long Doha trade talks, say some, as time is running short and positions remain divided ahead of an Easter deadline for agreement.
However, others are warning that it would be premature to abandon a push to finalize the talks this year, given high-level consultations being held by WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy. Lamy is engaging in a series of one-on-one high-level meetings – dubbed ‘confessionals’ – to gauge the size and nature of the remaining obstacles to a deal.
Lamy recently outlined the next steps in the process, specifying that the chairs of the various negotiating groups would table documents – which sources indicate could be in the form of reports or new text, depending on the topic – on 21 April for members to reflect on during the four days the WTO breaks for Easter holidays. He would then meet with groups of key members. On 29 April, Lamy is planning to convene heads of delegations in the Trade Negotiations Committee, the WTO’s top negotiating body.
However, the negotiations are in jeopardy following inconclusive talks between the US and India and China, largely over market access for manufactured products but also for farm goods.
Trade officials are increasingly looking towards APEC and OECD ministerial meetings in May as the next chance for political leaders to signal their determination to move ahead on Doha.
Source: ICTSD Reporting.

Tanzania Targets High in Horticulture Export
Tanzania Horticulture Association (TAHA) has unveiled a strategic plan with an eye to fast track growth of the multi-million-horticulture industry expected to earn $1bn by 2015.
“In pursuit of this goal TAHA has developed it institutional five-year-strategic plan which is patterned along the lines of Kilimo Kwanza targeting $1bn earnings,” says TAHA Executive Director, Jacqueline Mkindi.

The TAHA strategic plan gives a clear roadmap on the areas that need to be developed within the association to foster its services to the industry. Currently, the ‘green gold,’ earns the country, second largest economy in the region, nearly $ 340 million annually. TAHA underlined the needs and is pushing for National Budget allocation specific for horticultural development in the country. Involvement of TAHA is needed also in various task forces that review national policy as well as strong connections between TAHA and Agriculture Council of Tanzania, Ministry of Finance, and Prime Minister’s Office.
TAHA also finalizes the incentive package and lobby to the government to espouse the packages that comprise bonded warehouse system, Horticulture in Export Processing Zone, tax exemptions and land banks for horticulture.

Challenges, particularly, technical constraints include poor infrastructure- airports, feeder roads and laboratory facilities, Mkindi noted. Tanzania also faces inadequate technical capacity in the production and marketing, post harvest and standards compliance, lack of actual statistics on horticulture, shortage of quality agro inputs supply- seeds and fertilizers. As a result, TAHA has come up with an idea that will see farmers formalizing into groups and various capacities built.

The industry also experiences limited access to finance, lack of public and private awareness on horticulture and natural catastrophe.
The plan seeks government and other partners agree to establish an agricultural development bank or more funds to be injected into the agricultural support window of Tanzania Investment Bank (TIB).

Having registered a rapid growth of up to 10 per cent annually and big achievements since 2004, the horticulture sub sector in Tanzania is booming to the extent of being dubbed, ‘green gold’. “Horticulture foreign earnings have reached $140m in 2008, up from $1.4m in 2002” Ms Mkindi noted, adding that employment in the horticulture also swelled from 12,000 people in 2006, up to 20,019 in 2009. The sub-sector also saw direct foreign investment, registering 61 per cent increase and expansion of existing investment 23 per cent over a decade. Horticulture exports to markets abroad were 92,250 tonnes, mainly cut flowers, in 2007/2008 more than double from 40,602 tonnes in 2001/2002, Ms Mkindi added.

Flowers account at least 80 per cent of horticultural exports from Tanzania. Besides Western Europe hub, some few companies have secured markets in the Mediterranean region, the Middle East and the US.
Tanzania’s horticultural industry, especially its flower sub-sector, is based in Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions. There are over 20 farms majority of them opened in the last 15 years by foreign firms.
Source: IPP Media /Guardian

Colombia Government Stimulates Flower Industry
President Juan Manuel Santos proposed eight stimuli to encourage floriculture, In an effort to strengthen the industry that produces140,000 direct jobs. The head of state made his announcement from Bogota at the General Assembly of the association of Colombian flower exporters, Asocolflores.
“We know that well beyond the production and exports, the flower industry over many years has been a model of innovation, ecology and social responsibility,” said Santos to the Assembly.

The eight initiatives proposed include eliminating an import tax on agricultural chemicals and fertilizers (which is currently at 5%), a suspension of a decree that obligates flower companies to hire apprentices, and the allocation of over $6 million to the industry by The Colombian Agricultural Research Corporation (Corpoica), in order to accomplish technological innovations and transfers. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture, which has already directed nearly $520,000 to flower producers affected by the harsh rainy season, will continue their support to rebuild the industry.

The president wrapped up his speech saying, “All these initiatives point to a message that I have said but now I want to reiterate: The flower producers have had, have, and will continue to have the support of the national government. It is a sector that we admire for its contribution to formal employment, for their dynamism in foreign trade, and because it shows the world the best image of Colombia.”

At the same time – Colombia woos US lawmakers with roses
Bouquets of roses were delivered to Capitol Hill offices, courtesy of Colombia. The Colombian government, pressing for an extension of a trade preference program that expired last month, is warning lawmakers that U.S. consumers will have to pay more for flowers around Easter, Passover and Mother’s Day as a result of congressional inaction.
The Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, which has been supporting Colombia and Ecuador, expired February 12, reinstating import duties for thousands of products including plants, petroleum and clothing. The Colombian ambassador to the U.S., Gabriel Silva, said half a million Colombian jobs are at risk as a result.
Source: FloraHolland & Colombia Reports

FloraHolland Product Committee Roses
The Rose Committee started its meeting of 5 April with a visit to the Cultra centre in Aalsmeer, where seven wholesale businesses maintain their Cash & Carry shops, already for over 30 years. During the meeting, the committee discussed the results of the ‘botrytis stress test’. Unfortunately, the conclusions were that the ‘hot box’ method for quick test is not reliable enough. It is maybe useful for growers internal indications, but not for quality control. However, members of the committee have exchanged ideas about handling the botrytis problem.

As to the sales promotion project, the committee would like that all rose suppliers of FloraHolland would automatically participate in the funds, through remittance by FloraHolland’s charges. Nonetheless, this way should most probably be decided by the members’ General Assembly.
The committee also discussed some details of the ‘Market Plan’ for roses.
change in the auction schedule of FloraHolland Rijnsburg
As per the 8th of April there are some changes in the auction schedule of FloraHolland Rijnsburg. The auction group of ‘Gemengd Pakket’ is divided and combined with the auction group ‘Gemengd pakket GP’ on clock 5 and the ‘Groot gemengd pakket GP’ on clock 7. With this change small lots of summer flowers are auctioned earlier, which will reduce costs.

Two auction groups of Gypsophila (GP + and MP) are combined into one auction group for Gypsophila. Since the amount of trolleys of gypsophila is decreasing one auction group is more effective and cost-efficient.
Source: FloraHolland

New Concept for International Trade Fairs
A new concept for participating in international trade fairs has been developed by FloraHolland. Suppliers can now present their own products in FloraHolland’s pavilion at the fair where they get their allocated space within the stand. FloraHolland will also be supporting them before and during the exhibition.

At the Flowers & Hortech in Kiev, Ukraine held from 12 to 14 April 2011, the new concept was successfully implemented. FloraHolland and her suppliers will continue this stand concept at the international fairs where FloraHolland participates.

FloraHolland is going to participate together with Flower Council Holland (BBH) in the coming fair Flower Expo Moscow, at the Crocus Expo centre in 30 August through 2 September 2011.
This year the auction organization is also present at the Flormart in Padova (Padua), Italy, in September 2011. This is a very important event for the auction and for suppliers.
The preparations for the IPM Essen 2012 have already started. Also here the intention is to go hand-by-hand with BBH to represent the Dutch floriculture industry, and to share the pavilion with suppliers.

Interested suppliers who would like to participate at one of these trade fairs should contact their account manager at FloraHolland.
Source: FloraHolland
Export of Floriculture Products from The Netherlands – First Quarter – 2011
A shrink of –12% in March, compared to last year, made the accumulated value of the floriculture products export from The Netherlands in the first quarter to register only +5.5%. At the end of February it was +20%.

The impact of the weather changes was the main cause of the situation. Early spring with nice and relatively warm weather resulted in pressure on the sales of cut flowers in big parts of Europe, causing decrease in cut flowers export value of some –16% in March.
In the plants sector the situation was somehow better: only –5.6% compared to March 2010. However, March 2010 was extremely positive, with +22% increase on 2009. In addition, the demand for floriculture products this March was hindered by the fact that ‘flower days’ like International Woman’s Day and Easter are far from each other this year, compared to last year.

Early spring weather depresses the cut flowers sales because local flowers in the destination markets are early to bloom, and consumers spend more money on garden plants, therefore tend to expend less on cut flowers. Indeed, the export of garden plants was better in March.
Lower sales turnover in March did not derive from lower quantities, but from lower sale prices of cut flowers. This of course caused pressure on the growers’ and exporters’ margins.

Holland’s neighbouring markets showed a steady growth during the first quarter. Yet, exporters are concerned about the UK, where the cut flowers had hardly an increase.
Southern Europe declined significantly. First reason was the economical difficulties in Spain and Portugal, but also the nice weather that caused massive early local flowers supply, which competed the imports from other countries.
East Europe did it quite well, with Russia (+34%) as the main traction engine.

Traders are looking forward to the weeks to come, with the expected high demand toward Easter (23-25 April) that will be followed by the ‘big’ Mother’s Day on 8 May.
Source: FloraHolland

Floria Putrajaya Flower and Garden Exhibition 2011

Floria Putrajaya Flower and Garden Exhibition 2011 is scheduled to start from 9th to 17th July this year at Waterfront, Precinct 2, Putrajaya Malaysia. The show hosts some of Malaysia’s most amazing floral and horticultural works of art on display. The Kenya High Commission in Malaysia has secured a free stand for Kenyan Flower Exhibition.

Spread over nine days, the flower exhibition at Putrajaya is bound to please those who love gardening or enjoy flora. The show will attract participants locally and internationally where over 500,000 people are expected to visit this flower festival.

Floria Putrajaya 2011 Information:

Venue: Waterfront, Precinct 2, Putrajaya. This is near the main Boulevard road or where the Millennium Monument is located. Another landmark is opposite the Ministry of Finance building.
Admission: FREE
Opening Hours:
9am – 10pm Monday to Thursday
9am – 12midnight Friday to Sunday
Free shuttle buses will be provided from Putrajaya Sentral to the event location with frequent service daily.
Phone: 03-8887 7137
Email: ppjonline@ppj.gov.my
Floria 2011 Official Website

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