September Issue 2 2011

KFC Passes GLOBALG.A.P CIPRO Audit

The Kenya flower Council underwent a CIPRO (Certification Integrity Program) audit by the GLOBALG.A.P which took place at Star Flowers Ltd in Naivasha on 7th September 2011. GLOBALG.A.P introduced CIPRO to monitor the activities of Certification Bodies (CBs) that audit and issue GLOBALG.A.P certificates. The aim of the Certification Integrity Program was to ensure that each certified producer meets the same level to make sure that the control of the producers has been done consistently and the certification body (KFC) applied the GLOBALG.A.P rules the same way.

Farm inspection

The assessment started by carrying out a farm tour to selected areas based on the farm site map. Some of the areas of interest for the assessor were;

–          Visiting of greenhouses to assess how re-entry intervals are managed

–          Interviewing workers to confirm that they have been trained on safety and hygiene instructions and that they really had understood

–          Inspection of the sanitary facilities to confirm that there is clean running water for hand wash and soap provided

–          Inspection of the changing rooms to assess the storage of protective clothing (PPE) e.g. respirators etc should be stored in well aerated places.

–          Inspection of the fertilizer and chemicals stores according to the GLOBALG.A.P. checklist requirements

–          Inspection of product (flowers) handling process from the field to dispatch section

–          Inspection of the waste holding and disposal sites.

Documents review

The audit was concluded by assessing the farm’s compliance against the GLOBALG.A.P. IFA, All Crop Base and Flowers and Ornamental checklists by documents and records review. The GLOBALG.A.P assessor produced a report which was presented to the farm and KFC during the closing meeting. The assessor was impressed with the KFC audit in that the certified producer showed same level of compliance; consistence and the certification body applied the GLOBALG.A.P rules the same way in the certification of The KFC Silver Standard, a benchmarked Code of Practice to GLOBALG.A.P.

GLOBALG.A.P started to apply CIPRO in 2009 to the benchmarked schemes. This was the first such test to KFC as a Certification Body issuing KFC Silver and GLOBALG.A.P certificates. The CIPRO audit reconfirmed the integrity of the KFC auditing and its approach in benchmarking, strengthening our confidence in our equivalent schemes.

The approval of the certification bodies and the GLOBALG.A.P certification system is based on ISO 65 (EN 45011) accreditation. The Certification Integrity Program complements the work done by the certification or accreditation bodies. The result of the integrity assessment is accessible to the accreditation bodies. This provides large amount of input to the assessors of the Accreditation Bodies and supports their work. KFC is accredited by South Africa National Accreditation Systems (SANAS) to issue internationally recognized certificates. The last accreditation audit for KFC was conducted on 24th – 26th May 2011.

Report

The GLOBALG.A.P Certification Integrity Program is managed and run by the GLOBALG.A.P secretariat. It covers all GLOBALG.A.P scopes and sub-scopes worldwide and also the benchmarked schemes. KFC was assessed on Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA), All Crop Base and Flowers and Ornamentals scope.

Selection of visited CBs participating in the CIPRO Program and subsequent growers is made by risk assessment taking into consideration the number of certified producers, distribution of these producers between option 1 or 2 and 3 or 4, previous assessment results, product availability at the time of the assessment, in addition to any complaints that may have been received.

Brand Integrity Programme (BIPRO) and the GLOBALG.A.P database

One of the most important features of the GLOBALG.A.P database is the online certificate validation tool, which is now used daily by the retailers and traders. In case a certificate cannot be found on the publicly available search site, it is considered immediately invalid. The system secures instant and complete accessibility of registration and status data of every producer and product for all options to make the standard transparent.

Also the detection of any improper GLOBALG.A.P logo use, financial and contractual issue, and certification body registration and accreditation status belong to the Brand Integrity Programme.

Update on the Labour Bill

Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) in collaboration with Agriculture Employers Association (AEA), Kenya Flower Council (KFC), among other key organizations held an open discussion with the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture to discuss on the wage Bill introduced in Parliament by the MP of Naivasha Hon. John Mututho on 6th September 2011 at Laico Regency Hotel.  The bill has already gone through the first reading in parliament.  Five members of parliament attended the meeting.

The bill is seeking to raise basic minimum wages in the Agriculture Order from Kshs 3,765 to Kshs 10,000 and general labour from Kshs 7,586 to 13, 500. This translates to a minimum of 165% and 200% increase respectively.

According to the Labour Institutions Act, 2007 the statutory minimum wages are revised once in every two years by the Minister for Labour and contained in the Regulation of Wages (Agricultural Industry) Order and the Regulation of Wages (General) Order under subsidiary legislation.

It was pointed out that if the bill is passed it will result to:

–          Loss of investors to other countries due to increased cost of doing business.

–          All Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) will become irrelevant.

–          There will be conflict/problems between workers and workers and also unions and workers. Moreover the role of unions and wage Councils will be redundant.

–          Rise in Inflation – which is now 17% will increase.

–          The immediate effect of the high increases in wages would be loss of employment mainly among the youths. Currently, the level of unemployment in Kenya is believed to be in excess of 12.7%.

–          This would be contrary to Government policy to sustain the existing jobs and create a minimum of 500,000 new jobs per year, most of which come from the private sector, the target of the Bill.

–          The most affected would be the common Mwananchi who has to employ a domestic worker to take care of his household while at work, the small scale farmer who has to employ temporary workers for manual tasks in the farm.

A series of meetings will be held with other parliamentary committees and parliamentarians to discuss the same before it is tabled for the second reading in parliament. KFC will keep you updated.

Subati Flowers wins an award during the Expo flora show in Moscow

Subati Flowers, a member of Kenya Flower Council, won a Gold award for the Best Grower Quality Competition with “Safina” rose variety during the just ended Expo Flora show in Moscow, Russia. Congratulations are in order.

Other growers and breeders were among the winners with Bronze being awarded to Rosa Prima from Ecuador with the variety “Darcey”, Silver to Jaroma from Colombia with “High & Twinkle”, and Platinum to Nevado Ecuador with “Freedom”. For the Best Breeders Quality Competition Bronze was awarded to Nirp from Italy with the variety “Touch of Class”, Silver was there as well for Nirp with “Absurda” and Gold for again Nirp with “Farfalla”. Platinum was for Plantas Continental from Spain with “Malena”.

The first edition of Expo Flora Russia ended successfully last week, on Thursday September 1, in Moscow with almost 200 exhibiting flower growers, breeders, suppliers and traders from 17 different countries participating.

The event was held in Manezh in central Moscow, near the Kremlin and around the corner of the Red Square. It was organized by HPP Exhibitions an associate member of Kenya Flower Council. The state-of-the-art building was filled with abundant natural day light and being fully air conditioned, assuring the freshness of the displayed flowers and plants during the show. Since it was a trade only event, there were a selected number of high quality attendees. Much business was therefore done by the majority of exhibitors. Existing contacts were strengthened and also many new business contacts were made during the three days the expo lasted. Visitors not only came from Russia itself, but from other CIS countries as well, such as Kazakhstan, Siberia, Belarus, Ukraine, etc..

Expo Flora Russia is scheduled to take place again in 2012, from Wednesday September 12 to Friday September 14, and will this time be held in the ‘sister’ state-of-the-art building Gostiny Dvor, the hall where it was originally planned to be held this year.

Lord Mayor of London Visit Kenya

The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Michael Bear visited Kenya as part of his Africa tour from 7th to 10th September 2011. The Lord Mayor is the head of the City of London Corporation. He is the ambassador for the UK based financial services industry and actively promotes the services of the City of London.  He was accompanied by a financial services business delegation, looking to promote partnerships between UK and Kenya’s financial services sector. They included Kenyan Representatives of HSBC Africa, Burbidge Capital, De La rue, London Stock Exchange, Kingcombe Aquacare Ltd a water management specialists among others.

On Thursday 8th September 2011, the Lord Mayor attended a Financial Services Conference at the Serena Hotel Kenya Flower Council attended the event.

Tribute to Ms. Rachel Ntoyai

The Kenya Flower Council is deeply saddened by the death of Ms .Rachel Ntoyai of Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), who passed away on 3rd September 2011. Rachel has silently closed the door of life and departed from us. There will be emptiness in the areas that she had brightened for many.

Albert Einstein said, “The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.” In one word, Rachel was a woman who gave. she gave much to her work, and more so to the Country at large. She was a dedicated professional.

In her career she worked with passion, integrity and energy. By her death all the people who knew her will miss a highly intelligent, vibrant individual with a rare friendliness and charm of personality. Our sorrow is lessened only slightly with the comforting thought that we had the privilege to know her.

Death is, after all, only the side of life that we can’t see from earth’s shores. Who knows what God has in store for His child. We ask God’s comfort for her family and friends during this time of sorrow.

FloraHolland Growers’ Survey: Growers want more influence and improved communications

FloraHolland flower auction needs to do better for its growers in regard to influence, communications and a few individual aspects of its services. These were the findings of a growers’ survey. As the auction is ambitious to excel in its provision of services, FloraHolland will be harnessing the survey findings to achieve substantial improvements. 25 per cent of FloraHolland’s suppliers of cut flowers and plants from both the Netherlands and abroad participated in the survey, which was conducted by an external research agency.

Growers happy with financial settlements but not with level of influence
Only a minority of growers were satisfied with the level of influence they had within the cooperative — which confirms earlier findings. These matters are being tackled at the auction through a program that it introduced which addresses influence and member engagement.
Half of those surveyed stated that communications about change were not currently being timed properly. Suppliers from abroad were receiving too little information in their own languages.
Although 58 per cent of growers were satisfied with the services, there were several aspects that left something to be desired — dirty trolleys, packaging and Danish trolleys being something that was particularly identified. FloraHolland Connect’s sales services and advisory services were not much appreciated as they stand.
However, the auction scored well on customer-friendliness towards growers, although it was failing to resolve enough of the complaints. FloraHolland’s financial services were unanimously given a ringing endorsement.

Robust plan of action for improvement
With the robust plan of action that it has drawn up, FloraHolland is taking concrete steps to make things better. A program developed in consultation with Regional Board Members and members of the FPCs (FloraHolland Product Commissions) to increase the degree of member engagement is to be submitted to the FloraHolland members.
The cleaning and checking of logistical resources is being improved by substantial steps and changes. In cases where FloraHolland Connect services are faltering due to organizational change, action is being taken to realign its sales services and advisory services with growers’ wishes.
The communication with growers is being improved and FloraHolland is also working on resolving and/or avoiding complaints, by such means as staff training, better coordination between all the service and complaints departments, and improved use of online channels to provide tailored information. FloraHolland is accelerating its drive to offer information multilingually.

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