January Issue 2 2012

COPE holds a stakeholder meeting

The Center for Phytosanitary Excellence (COPE) organized a half day stakeholder forum on the 18th of January, 2012 at KEPHIS Headquarters to discuss the content of COPE.

COPE has partnered with the USAID-COMPETE with the aim of addressing issues linked to developing training content for the core Phytosanitary units like Pest Risk Analysis (PRA), Surveillance, Plant Inspection among others.

COPE objective is to enhance capacity of Africa’s national Phytosanitary systems to protect national Agriculture and increase ability to compete in the international markets by meeting market requirements.

The COPE in-service training programmes are designed with the objective of enhancing participants’ knowledge and skills for the development and maintenance of fully functional and effective national Phytosanitary systems and harmonized Phytosanitary procedures for improved regional and international agricultural trade while preventing introduction and spread of pests.

The trainings are targeting the following:

  1. Phytosanitary managers and senior technical staff (heads of national quarantine services, heads of Laboratories, regional Phytosanitary managers, heads of inspection departments) working in National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) and other governmental regulatory Agencies.
  2. Subject matter specialist and technologist (Plant pathologists, entomologists, weed scientist, nematologists) working in quarantine station and diagnostic laboratories in NPPOs and other regulatory bodies.
  3. Phytosanitary inspectors and field inspectors working for NPPOs, agricultural producer companies and other regulatory agencies in Phytosanitary systems.

Kenya Flower Day Exhibition in Brussels a success

The Kenya Flower Day in Brussels, Belgium held from 5th to 8th December 2011 and organized by the Kenya Embassy in Belgium in conjunction with Euro-Veiling flower Auction was a success. According to a report by Mr. Bernard Ondanje, the Agriculture Attache in the Embassy of Kenya in Belgium, the exhibition was a successful test case as a first step to access the facility which will be a spring board for Kenya Flowers being sold through the auction.

Agriculture forms the backbone of Kenya’s economy and in particular floriculture which has significantly contributed to foreign exchange earnings in Kenya. Kenya’s flowers access the EU market mainly through the auction in Amsterdam, Netherlands, making them lose their originality and identity by the time they reach the Belgium market.

The exhibition showcased Kenyan flowers, mainly cut flowers and summer flowers to the Belgian market which is increasingly becoming important given the relatively small but vibrant flower auctions in Brussels.

The Kenyan delegation comprised of representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Horticultural Crops Development Authority, and flower growers who also provided flowers for exhibiting. Over 180 buyers attended for example Delhaize Super Market Chain, Agora group, Agriflora-Brussels, Quillasia Flowers, Tisharos Fleurs among many others. Other KFC members who provided flowers for the event included Tambuzi Flowers, Red Lands Roses, Harvest Ltd and Subati Flowers.

The delegation paid a courtesy call to H.E. the Ambassador in his office where he emphasized on the competitiveness of the Kenyan Flowers internationally fetching good prices. He added that his aim was to see Kenyan flower growers have secured a segment of the Belgian market by accessing it directly from Nairobi.

During the business to business meetings the EU Commissioner did a presentation on regulations that relate to Phytosanitary conditions and entry requirements. The manager of Brussels also discussed with the delegation on the a possible working relationship between the airline and Kenya growers adding that a fourth flight will be introduced from March 2012 to facilitate transportation of Kenyan Flowers to Belgium.

In conclusion the event was successful and clearly demonstrated how important the Kenya flowers are, particularly in terms of quality and low carbon pollution content since the flowers are grown mainly under natural conditions with low artificial energy input. Enquiries on when the Kenya flowers would appear on the auction were made due to the interest generated during the exhibition.

Flower-power pushes Allied freighter extension

NIGERIA’s Allied Air Cargo has extended its lease contract on two MD-11Fs from ACMI provider World Airways in order to keep up with African perishables demand from Europe.

Allied carries more than 400 metric tonnes a week of fresh flowers and vegetables from Kenya and Uganda to major European markets in the Netherlands and the UK.

“Allied Air Cargo and World Airways have built up a strong commercial relationship over the last three years and we are extending this cooperation with a multiple-year agreement,” Brian Bauer, chief commercial officer of World Airways’ parent Global Aviation Holdings, comments.

All-cargo airline Allied operates four 727 freighters in addition to the two MD-11 freighters leased from World Airways. Allied works with worldwide sales agent, ANA Aviation Services, to provide scheduled flights and ad hoc charter services.

Source: Air cargo News

‘Euro zone almost in a recession’

“The euro zone is almost in a recession.” Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg prime minister and chairman of the Euro group said on Wednesday. ”Technically, we are on the edge of a recession”, stated Juncker in reference to the definition of a recession.

The economy in the EU shrank in the past two past quarters of the year. Juncker wants an EU policy to boost the economy of the euro zone, besides a proper budget agreement between the EU members, which is currently being discussed. Juncker says he is going to ask for measures at the EU summit meeting on 30 January.

Source: Hortibiz

Predatory mites more effective with a mixed diet

Predatory mites are doing better if they have a mixed diet with different preys. They grow better on a mixed diet than on a diet of one prey species. This is the outcome of research by Roos van Maanen of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

A mixed diet has another remarkable advantage for predatory mites. Because of the diet, they can disguise themselves, in a way that the prey will not recognize them as dangerous predators. This in itself is advantageous because prey can discriminate between chemical signals from predators that have eaten congeners (their fellow species). Predators that have eaten congeners are more dangerous than predators that have eaten other insects.

US ornamental growers expect sales increase

What are the sales forecasts of US ornamental growers for 2012? Growers shared their expectations with the US magazine Greenhouse Grower.

Growers who set a lofty goal to boost sales by more than 10 percent next year were in the minority, judging from results of a recent Greenhouse Grower survey. 29 percent of growers indicated they expect sales to be up 10 percent or more. The largest percentage of growers surveyed (34 percent) expected sales increases to range between 5 and 10 percent next year; about 16 percent expected sales to be up less than 5 percent while 12 percent expected flat sales. Only a handful of growers are forecasting sales declines in 2012.

Growers were asked about the factor that would be most critical to their 2012 success. Some argued the weather would be the most critical factor while others argued that the economy had had a huge impact on the greenhouse floriculture industry these last three years.

Labor costs, energy costs, competition and transportation costs were other answers growers could choose from, but weather and the economy won out.

“The economy, although slow didn’t seem to hamper those who wanted to buy bedding plants,” says a Western wholesale grower with between 250,000 and 500,000 square feet of greenhouse space.

Source: Hortibiz > Greenhouse Grower

FloraHolland 2011 Turnover Slightly Higher

The Royal Cooperative Flower Auction FloraHolland closed 2011 with a turnover of 4.16 billion Euros. This is 0.7% more than the record-breaking turnover achieved in 2010, a positive result from a special year in which the flower auction celebrated its 100th anniversary.

The stable image projected by FloraHolland’s sales is not reflected by the average returns achieved by growers. There, average pricing is showing a drop as volumes rise. This is at any rate the case for the largest product group, cut flowers, which achieved sales of 2.35 billion Euros, equating to an increase of 1%. In 2011, the share of sales via the FloraHolland Connect intermediary organization also grew from 1.64 to 1.77 billion euros, equating to a rise of 8%. The increase in volume over 2011 of 2.5% indicates that the European consumer is still buying ornamental plants and flowers.

Due to the increased use of the Remote Buying (KOA) system, as well as the expansions to image auctioning at the FloraHolland marketplaces, the auction is becoming increasingly a virtual marketplace. Currently, 60% of flower sales are made through KOA. Thanks to the increase in the available digital supply information from growers, more and more exporters, wholesalers and end customers are benefiting from the FloraHolland e-Trade (for cut flowers) and PlantConnect.nl (for plants) trading platforms. This virtualization is causing market expansion and provides FloraHolland growers with the opportunity to position themselves further up the chain. “The sector is discovering more and more advantages to digitization, and that is important,” says General Director Timo Huges.

FloraHolland will be introducing its changed organizational structure this year, which involves providing guidance centrally on the basis of individual market segments with, the location structure of the auction being dispensed with. These methods fit better with the market, which, increasingly, has to do with international production and sales.

In 2012, FloraHolland will be investing a total of 75 million Euros, the same amount that the auction invested last year.

December very good for Dutch floriculture industry

December 2011 was “very good”, as they say in the Dutch floriculture industry, total cut flowers sales in FloraHolland during ‘period 13’ (weeks 49-52) was 29.3% higher than in the same period last year, thanks to growth in both, price and quantities.

Tulips supply has almost doubled, compared to 2010, and has therefore seen a drop of average price of 25%. Hippeastrum/amaryllis, a typical ‘Christmas flower’ provided a pleasant surprise with very good price, after the over-supply and low prices at the beginning of the season. The roses did very well too. The houseplants sales have increased by 23%.

These results are mainly credited to the mild weather, which did not put obstacles to the trade, as it did in December last year.

Traders in the various European markets summarize the last holiday period with satisfaction, but with no expressions of enthusiasm.

Sources: Hortbiz>FloraHolland and ITC/MNS Bulletin

Colombians keep fingers crossed because of frost

The “La Niña” phenomenon affecting the temperature of the Pacific Ocean caused severe floods once again in late 2011 in Colombia, which has carried into the first two weeks of the New Year.

As the rains subside and bright sunny days come back in the Bogotá Savannah, where most of Colombian cut flowers are grown, weather projections are indicating that the second half on January will continue to be dry – but may also bring freezing temperatures, with the concomitant and much feared frost that badly damages flowers, particularly roses. Reports indicate that temperatures of -3°C can be expected, although incidence of severe frost is presently below 35%.

For preventive measures to reduce damage, Colombian flower growers have access to permanent, real time weather information provided through the CENICLIMA program, a strategic alliance drawn between the Colombian Weather Channel, and CENIFLORES the Colombian Centre for Innovation in Floriculture .The Channel notifies emergency climate situations to registered users via email or cell phone messaging. CENIFLORES further sends frequent newsletters with recommendations and advice on how to handle climate related issues and minimize damage.


Export or die’ for flower growers in Da Lat, Vietnam

10 years ago, 5% of the total of flowers produced in the Vietnam area Da Lat was exported. In 2011, the proportion remained the same. The local market has become narrower because of increased supply. More export is needed, but the Da Lat flowers cannot satisfy the high requirements of the world market. Therefore the local authorities want to improve the quality.

Though the growing area and the revenue have been increasing, local growers still feel worried about the Da Lat flower industry. The problem is that the consumption of the products much depends on the domestic market.

Da Lat flowers still cannot satisfy the high requirements of the world market. The flower growers do not have high skills, while commercial flowers do not have high quality because of the degeneration. The new high quality flower varieties cultivated in Da Lat have overly high production costs; therefore, they prove to be uncompetitive in the world market. As a result, Da Lat flowers have been relying on the domestic market.

‘Export or die’ is the motto set up by the local authorities. Da Lat flower growers well understand that they need to strive to export flowers instead of relying on the domestic market. Da Lat flowers need to reach out to the new and choosy markets such as the US, Japan and European countries. And in order to do that, it is necessary to improve the quality of Da Lat flowers by re-programming the flower growing area, applying new technologies in cultivation.

Source: Hortibiz> Vietnamnet

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