February Issue 2 2012

♥ Charm her ♥ Delight her ♥ Impress her this Valentine’s Day

Tuesday next week is the big day for lovers.  Make a serious statement with fresh flowers for the special person in your life.  The growers are ready to service their Valentine’s Day orders in different markets like Holland among others. With the cold winters in Europe growers have not experienced cancellation of flights and more over no flowers have failed to reach their destinations so far. Unlike Russia, Polland among other few countries where severe winters were experienced there was no issues in Holland during this peak season.

This year, the industry is looking forward to higher sales in terms of value and volumes compared to previous years. In February 2011 9,516 metric tons valued kshs 5.2 billion were exported compared to 9,680 metric tons valued kshs 3.5 billion in 2010.

Currently in Kenya, we’ve seen a tremendous increase in flowers consumption. The interest from both men and women is so high that. They all like to improve their appearance and express themselves using beautiful bouquets of roses.

To meet the needs of the Nairobians on this special day, Flower Vendors will display and sell their flowers in selected streets of Nairobi on Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th February, 2012. This comes after the Nairobi City Council through the Town Clerk Mr. Phillip Kisia graciuosly provided allowed and licenced them do their business.

This initiative has contributed to the development and growth of the local flower market, promoting a culture for flowers consumption among Kenyans. It has created employment, diverse and sustainable livelihoods among the youth in Kenya.

Over and above, the Kenya Tourist Board in collaboration with the Kenya Flower Council will give out branded roses to ladies on 14th February 2012 as part of local promotions. This will go to branding Nairobi and Kenya at large as an internationally acknowledged lead country in the growing and exportation of cut flowers.

Land Rates, Rent and Flower Cess in the County Council Of Olekejuado

The county council of Olekejuado has requested the growers to pay Agricultural produce cess amounting from kshs 300 per box to kshs 5,000 per track. In reference from a letter sent to KFC by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, this is against government policy of centralizing tax collection through the Kenya Revenue authority. Implementation of such cess would amount to double taxation.

It is extremely difficult to implement the Council request owing to the fact that the flower Industry pays the Agricultural Cess to the Horticultural Crop Development Authority as per Legal Notice No. 225 of 1995 on imposition of levy.

In situations where the council want to verify the number of Boxes in a vehicle, it is seemingly difficult to open the trucks since the boxes are sealed at the farm and can only be opened at the cool chains since they are perishables in addition to security reasons.

In view of the above, KFC is following it up with the Council to see the practicality of practicality of the order.

Re:  EAC EPA Negotiations with the EU

The EAC Partner States are engaged in a number of trade negotiations with other Parties, most notably the EPA negotiations with the European Union. The EPA is expected to be a WTO compatible agreement that will govern trade relations between the EAC partner states and the EU member states. The EAC Partner States are also engaged in the WTO negotiations, but unlike the EPAs, these negotiations are not coordinated at the regional level.

From the outset, EPA negotiations have been extremely challenging, in terms of both process and substance. For various reasons, European Commission and EAC negotiators have not been able to reach a common understanding on certain contentious issues.

On the other hand, WTO negotiations have become so complex that Members are expected to be analytical and make adequate preparations to participate effectively. It is therefore crucial that the Partner States analyze the interface between the WTO and EPA negotiations to get the clearer picture of the current state of play on both tracks of negotiations and what needs to be done to ensure complementarity.

Just to provide an update, the current trading relationship between the ACP and the EU is guided by the ACP‐EU Agreement (The Cotonou Partnership Agreement).   The ACP‐EU trading relationship continues to be based on the granting by the EU of a preferential access of products from the ACP group members to the European market.  During the intervening period between 2002 and the end of 2007, the EU had agreed to provide non‐reciprocal, duty free market access to ACP countries, under the terms and conditions of the Cotonou Agreement.

Under the Cotonou Partnership Agreement Parties had agreed to conclude new WTO‐compatible trading arrangements, progressively removing barriers to trade between them and enhancing cooperation in all areas relevant to trade.

Because of the inability to conclude the full EPA negotiations by 31st December 2007 to counter the expiration of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, the EC proposed the initialing of interim/framework EPAs to provide a bridge until the conclusion of the full/comprehensive EPAs. The interim/framework EPAs contain a WTO‐compatible market access offer as well as a commitment to negotiate outstanding issues in the EPA.

Following this development, the EAC Partner States and the EU initialed a Framework Economic Partnership Agreement (FEPA) on 27th November 2007 in Kampala, Uganda, that comprised of:

  1. i.      General Provisions (scope, objectives and principles)
  2. ii.      Trade in Goods
  3. iii.      Fisheries
  4. iv.      Economic and Development Cooperation
  5. v.      Provisions on areas for future negotiations
  6. vi.      Institutional & Final Provisions
  7. vii.      Annexes and Protocols (Customs duties on originating products, Rules of origin and Administrative matters)

In the course of EU – EAC EPA negotiations, “contentious issues” have delayed the process, but member parties, and especially Kenya, are committed to fast tracking the negations to facilitate sustainable trade relations.  Within the EAC group, Kenya is the only country that is not a least- developed country (LDC) and is therefore exposed to losing the most should the existing free-market access conditions be withdrawn from 1 January 2014.

If this happens, Kenya would likely fall under the new GSP standard regime (whose reform is currently under discussion).   Under the GSP, Kenya would however no longer benefit from a duty-free access for its exports of flowers to the EU market, but would be subject to a tariff reduction of 3.5% percentage point from the erga omnes duty (MFN tariff).  This means that for example when exporting roses it would be liable to pay a duty of 8.5% instead of 0% as currently applied under the Market Access Regulation. This is certainly not an option for Kenya.

With this note, the East Africa Community has held a number of consultative meetings to reach a consensus.  The block is holding two regional meetings in the month of February 2012 i.e.

  1. 1. EAC EPA Experts Dedicated Sessions from the 6th – 10th February 2012 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The Dedicated Sessions are deliberating on the following agenda items:-

  1. i. Rules of Origin
    1. Consideration of the EU’s comment on the joint text and
    2. Annex II of the Rules of Origin
    3. ii. Economic and Development cooperation to finalize:-
      1. The EAC Draft Benchmarks, Indicators and Targets
      2. SPS, TBT, and Customs and Trade Facilitation issues
      3. iii. Consideration of outstanding issues in the joint Agriculture text:-
        1. Definition of small scale farmers
        2. Definition of food safety
        3. Export subsidies and domestic support
        4. Proposed EU cooperation text on geographic indications
        5. Revise the preamble text of Articles 17 – 21
        6. 2. Regional Workshop on the Interaction between the WTO and EPA Negotiations; from 13th – 16th February 2012  in Arusha, Tanzania

The overall objective of the workshop is to ensure that the engagement of EAC Member States in trade negotiations both at the WTO level and at the level of the EPAs is coordinated in order to make sure that EAC region maximizes and benefits from these negotiations. This will be achieved through a deepened understanding by policymakers and negotiators on the interface between the WTO and EPAs negotiations.

Specifically, the workshop will capture the overall process and contents of the negotiations, and provide incisive analysis and information in order to help deepen the understanding of the link between the EPA and the WTO negotiations processes, including highlighting issues that have hindered progress towards concluding negotiations.

KFC has been attending the consultative meetings and the Chief Executive Office Mrs. Jane Ngige shall be attending the meeting for 13th – 16th February 2012 in Arusha.

We shall keep you updated on this important process.

Upcoming events

World Floral Expo 2012

The World Floral Expo 2012 is scheduled to take place from 14th to 16th March 2012 at the Jacob. K. Javits Center, New York’s Exhibition Center along the Hudson River in the heart of New York City, in Manhattan. The show previously held in Miami, is a pure cut flower trade event with the typical triangle chain concept as the leading philosophy behind it: breeder<=>grower<=> buyer. The show organized by HPP Exhibitions is back in the Big Apple, the city where it started off back in 1999.

We hereby request KFC Members who would like to exhibit in the show to confirm their participation with KFC. Horticultural Crop Development Authority will cater for the shipping of flowers whereas the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will manage the stand.

The US is opening up markets for Kenyan products from Kenya for example recently they have opened markets for French Beans opening a new frontier for farmers. Flowers go to the US market quota and duty free.

Even though Kenya does not have a direct flight compared to Ethiopia there is still hope due to the fact that the JKIA is currently upgrading the terminals to handle direct flights to the US by August.  Transport Minister Amos Kimunya held talks with US Department of Transport in January to resolve outstanding issues and ensure JKIA is accorded category one status

2012 Salon De L’Agriculture show

The 2012 Salon De L’Agriculture show is scheduled to take place from 25th February to 4th March 2012 in Paris, France.  The Agriculture Society of Kenya has been invited to participate in the show and in the same spirit; they would like to invite KFC members to participate in the event. Interested members can confirm their participation to:

The Agricultural Society of Kenya

Tel: 020 3866655/6, 8070808/9

info@ask.co.ke

Goyang Korea Show 2012

The 6th International Horticulture Goyang Korea Show 2012 is scheduled to take place from 26th April to 13th May 2012 at Lake Park, Goyang-Si. The event is organized by the Goyang International Flower Foundation. Horticultural Crop Development Authority (HCDA) has secured a stand where interested flower growers can showcase their products.

For more information please contact:

Carol Muumbi
Marketing Officer

HCDA

Tel No. 020 20884698, 3597356

Fax: 020 3532898

Email: md@hcda@or.ke

cmmumbi@hcda.or.ke

The AgriTech 2012 – 15th to 17th May 2012

The AgriTech 2012 is scheduled to take place from 15th to 17th May 2012 at the Israel Trade Fairs and Convention Center in Tel Aviv, Israel. The Convention held once in every three years, is one of the leading international events that showcase Israel and international agriculture technologies.  It traditionally attracts many Ministers of Agriculture, decision-makers, experts, practitioners and trainers in agriculture, and thousands of visitors. It provides an opportunity to see at one site the latest developments in agricultural sector and advanced agro-technologies, especially in the fields of irrigation, water management, arid zone agriculture, intensive greenhouse cultivation, development of new seed varieties, and organic and ecologically-oriented agriculture.

The East African European Chamber of Commerce (EAECC) has partnered with Sayari Afrika and Kenes International the official organizers of the international event. Sayari Afrika’s M. I. C. E (Meetings, Incentive, Conference and Events) Department in conjunction with The EAECC, Ethiopian Airline and their ground handler in Israel has compiled an all inclusive travel itinerary for the participants. This will ensure comprehensive details of travel are addressed including guaranteeing visa issuance to all; transportation to and from the exhibition; comfort in hotels; services of a Kenyan representative 24 hours whilst in Israel; liaison services between participants and organizers; arranging of one-on-one meetings as requested by participants.

In case of any queries, please contact:

Christine K Kitale

Head of Business Development

EAECC

+254 722 102170

christine.kitale@eaecc.net

Union Fleurs and Florint on track to strengthen cooperation

Union Fleurs, the International Flower Trade Association, and Florint, the International Florist Organisation,  met during IPM Essen to explore ways to further strengthen the cooperation between the two organizations in the common benefit of the floricultural trade, wholesale and florist shops. Union Fleurs was represented by its President Lennart Loven and Sylvie Mamias, Secretary General, while Florint was represented by President Mark Ward, General Secretary Toine Zwitserlood and taskforce members Brian Wills-Pope and David Bourguignon.

A lively and fruitful meeting took place, during which many views and ideas were exchanged with respect to the current challenges the flower retail and trade are facing.  The two organizations have already been cooperating for years but it was agreed in 2011 to further explore common grounds and intensify the dialogue. The constructive position that has emerged since 2011  led to last week’s meeting, where efforts were made to establish a definitive way forward.

Several ideas for stronger cooperation have emerged, not only with respect to lobbying the European Commission but also with regard to relevant umbrella organizations in Brussels, where greater cooperation could lead to a more comprehensive and cost – effective representation of the floricultural trade and retail. Broader topics such as promotion of floricultural consumption and improved communication about the positive aspects of the sector, as well as sustainability issues, were also touched upon during the meeting.

It was agreed that in  order to further define the nature of future cooperation between the two organizations, the general secretaries will meet again and draft a concept paper to be presented to both boards of directors.  Both Union Fleurs and Florint expect to have established a common framework for stronger cooperation within weeks.

Union Fleurs is the International Floricultural Trade Association and officially represents the interests of traders in cut flowers & greens and pot plants. Union Fleurs was founded in 1959 in Brussels and has members in 19 countries worldwide. Kenya Flower Council is a member of Union Fleur.

Roses & Rhinos

In Naivasha, Kenya, one Flower Company’s commitment to “conservation through trade” demonstrates how to marry business and environmental interests.

Dashing through the supermarket on the way to a dinner party, you grab a bottle of wine and a bunch of roses for the hostess. In that moment, the image of white rhinos grazing in central Kenya probably does not cross your mind. What’s the connection? The flowers.

Kenya is one of the world’s leading flower exporters. The shores of Lake Naivasha in the central Rift Valley are home to massive farms that produce tens of millions of stems a day destined primarily for shops in Europe. These operations support well over half a million people, and make a major contribution to Kenya’s economy.

And they depend on the availability of clean water. Of course, they are not alone. Resident fishermen and farmers also depend on the lake for their livelihoods, and the native wildlife – including a wide array of water birds, as well as hippos and iconic African species like giraffes, zebras and antelope – depend on a healthy lake as the foundation of a functioning ecosystem.

With business investment, community well-being and biodiversity at stake, it is essential to manage the lake effectively.

“The health of Lake Naivasha isn’t just one sector’s concern, and it isn’t just one sector’s responsibility,” says Robert Ndetei, Manager of WWF’s Lake Naivasha programme. “Businesses, communities and local authorities all have a role to play. And we are seeing that there’s so much to be gained through cooperation.”……………………………………….

To read the rest of the story click: http://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/?203452/Roses–Rhinos

Source: WWF

Lufthansa adds 13 freigthers for Valentine

With 13 full freighters, Lufthansa Cargo joins the army of carriers shipping roses for Valentine’s Day across Europe. Lufthansa Cargo flights heading for Frankfurt (Germany) from South America and Africa are carrying around 1,100 tonnes of roses, which equates to 30 million single roses or 13 full MD-11 freighters.

Growers in Colombia, Ecuador and Kenya are among the world’s major producers of fresh-cut flowers, picked in the morning and at their final destination by night.

Source: Airargo News

Valentine’s Day flowers inspected for pests

Flower shops are gearing up for the Valentine’s Day holiday by purchasing thousands of roses from outside the country. As the shipments make it to Houston, before it can go to the flower shop agricultural specialists with U.S. Customs and Border Protection must hand inspection each shipment.

“We are looking for pests and insects, diseases that could potentially harm our American agriculture,” agriculture specialist Jennifer Murrell said.

The main source of imported flowers comes from Columbia and Ecuador. The agents hand-select each batch making sure in transit nothing was picked up.

“We do inspect 2 percent of every shipment looking for anything that is infected,” said Murrell.

Each bundle of flowers is visually inspected and then the agent shakes the flowers on to white paper. Anything that falls out is screened. But if there is evidence of disease or a flower has bite marks on it, that’s not enough.

“We can’t take action unless we actually find the insect that causes that damage,” said Murrell.

During the 2011 Valentine’s Day season from Jan. 1 to Feb. 14, Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists prevented the entry of 3,400 plant pests hitchhiking on cut flower imports.

Customs and Border Protection processed approximately 802.5 million cut flower stems last year.

The top 10 ports of entry, by volume, of cut flower imports processed are Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Laredo, Texas, Otay Measa, Chicago, Newark, Boston, Wilmington and San Juan.

Source – Houston > Flowerweb

Colombians have positive feeling about Valentine

Valentine’s 2012 leave a generally positive feeling for Colombian flower exporters. “Although the US dollar weakened significantly (again) when least needed reducing the season’s income, the climate was in the end benign and the feared frosts did not occur” reports Jairo Cadavid communications manager at ASOCOLFLORES (the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters).

An estimated 500 million stems have been exported, mainly to the USA, the United Kingdom and several countries in Europe. “Colombian exporters now prepare for International Women’s Day (March 8), an increasingly important Russian celebration for long-stemmed large-headed roses”, he adds.

Some exporters reported that there was an abundance of flowers, particularly roses, (and interestingly not carnations), and that this led to low prices, and reduced last minute orders (which often fetch better revenue) to a minimum. Warm and exceptionally bright days posed a risk of flowers opening ahead of time and had growers scrambling to ensure good ventilation in greenhouses to prevent this from happening.

Consolidation of large groups has continued in the industry and it is evident that as companies merge together they become self-sufficient. That is, the group itself is capable of filling all orders – often including of bouquets – and there is no need to source flowers from external suppliers. “Life is getting even more difficult for small, independent growers”, one such producer said, who in the past, would round up sales through larger companies needing extra flowers at short notice.

Overall, however, a positive atmosphere is in the air. Sales were satisfactory, the weather behaved (no floods, no frozen flowers), and its time to look ahead with optimism.

Source: Hortibiz

15 PRINCIPLES FOR A STRONG SAFETY CULTURE:

  1. Everyone is personally responsible for safety
  2. Leaders demonstrate commitment to  safety
  3. Trust permeates the organization
  4. Decision-making reflects safety first
  5. A participatory questioning attitude is cultivated
  6. Organizational learning is embraced
  7. Safety undergoes constant examination(monitoring and evaluation)
  8. Addressing safety violators**
  9. Develop a safety observation team, establish effective working teams like the buddy system, monitour observable behaviors, solicit feedback, etc.
  10. Upper management to develop a boots on the ground approach. Random unannounced visits to the work areas by managing directors, and other managers, Repetition aids memory. The more impromptu visit the workplace, the better the safety culture.
  11. Employees in a healthy safety culture should feel empowered; a good example of this is the stop work/time out philosophy, all the employees having the right to speak up if they observe something unsafe or if something just doesn’t feel right and their opinions being heard, and whistleblowers should not face any retaliation or punishment for speaking up.
  12. Meaningful and integrated communication –(lessons learned/ best practices)- use communication to raise employees awareness of safety risks, near misses and training , safety communication boards and posters. The goal is to have a planned and coordinated effort to keep safety in front of all employees, educate them on specific safety issues, provide tools and information in a timely and effective manner.
  13. Worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control-have a worker safety and health management system or other systems that deploy processes, tools and expertise to help managers and staff to identify and mitigate hazards.
  14. Strengthen safety committees through recognition and empowerment to facilitate undertaking of the duties charged on them.

Safety Performance Improvement Plan- management leadership and accountability, employee involvement and accountability, emphasis on prevention, safety dialog etc

By: Leshan Taruru - Universal Work, Health and Safety Consultancy Ltd
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