February Issue 3 2012

Valentine’s Day in Kenya

Lovers in Kenya celebrated the awaited Valentine’s Day making serious statement with fresh flowers to their loved ones. Businesses for the Flower vendors boomed leaving them with smiles all over their faces. According to the chairman of Flower Vendors Association Mr. Elvis Wainaina the sales were higher compared to last year.

There has been tremendous increase in flowers consumption in Kenya in the recent past. 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.

Flower Vendors display and sold their flowers in selected streets of Nairobi on Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th February, 2012 making sure they met the needs of the love birds. This came after the Nairobi City Council through the Town Clerk Mr. Phillip Kisia graciously allowed and licensed them to display and sell flowers in selected areas at the Central Business District.

In a meeting with the KFC on 13th Feb, 2012 at his office, Mr. Kisia said there is need to brand Nairobi as the city of flowers where he also encouraged the vendors to strive and formalize their businesses hence contribute revenue to the Kenyan economy. Currently the vendors pay their NHIF contributions and are also planning to contribute to NSSF.  He added that Kenya should develop a culture of consuming flowers not only during Valentine’s Day but on a daily basis. The flower vendors will be allocated kiosks where they will be doing their businesses.

The KFC Chief Executive Mrs. Jane Ngige requested that flower vendors be facilitated to obtain annual licenses instead of paying the daily cess. Mr. Kisia welcomed the idea saying that, such an arrangements, would inject efficiency in revenue collection and enhance business stability for the vendors.

Separately, the Kenya Tourist Board in collaboration with the Kenya Flower Council gave out roses to ladies on 14th February 2012 as part of local promotions. This was one of the KFC PR activity branding Nairobi and Kenya at large as an internationally acknowledged lead country in the growing and exportation of cut flowers.

In addition, KFC with the kind support of P. J. Dave Roses gave bouquet of roses to news desks of different media houses in Kenya. We take this opportunity to thank P. J. Dave flowers for graciously providing flowers for this activity.

Floriculture industry in Kenya records significant improvement

The Kenya floriculture sub-sector recorded significant improvement in 20122 where 121,891 metric tons valued at kshs 44.5 billion were exported according to the USAID Kenya Horticulture competitiveness project (KHCP) statistics. This translated to a growth of 1% in volumes and 25% in value compared to 2010.

Kenya secured kshs 91.6 billion from the horticultural exports in 2011. This indicates that the horticulture exports grew by 18% in value in 2011 compared to 2010 where the industry earned kshs 77.7 billion. 382,638 metric tons valued were exported in 2011, a drop of 5% compared to 403, 026 metric tons exported in 2010.

Please see the table below:

Horticultural Exports 2010 & 2011 Comparison
Type 2010 2011 % Change
Quantity (Kgs) Value (KES) Quantity (Kgs) Value (KES) Quantity Value
Flowers 120,220,846 35,557,457,205 121,891,436 44,506,056,083 1% 25%
Vegetables 123,813,087 21,416,561,863 92,201,537 21,513,237,985 -26% 0%
Nuts 11,827,980 1,997,516,145 12,999,655 2,660,083,562 10% 33%
Fruits 32,501,074 2,789,134,974 37,068,526 3,626,732,716 14% 30%
Processed Vegetables 35,649,188 9,187,224,162 40,094,598 12,002,823,843 12% 31%
Processed Fruits 79,013,546 6,762,034,204 78,382,021 7,287,583,444 -1% 8%
Total 403,025,721 77,709,928,553 382,637,773 91,596,517,633 -5% 18%

Source: USAID-KHCP

Moreover, the potential growth in 2012 for the floriculture industry is promising despite the challenges from external factors. With only months remaining to the general elections, the industry is facing major challenges emanating from concern over the economic status of countries in the global market.

The sector may also face challenges in productivity as result of the impact of climatic change, stringent market standards requirements and also undue anxiety as a result of delay in the determination of the EAC EU EPAs.  Other challenges will be in delayed VAT Refunds, aggressive NGO campaigns based on social accountability.  Additionally the industry will face complexities arising from continuing implementation of the New Constitution, particularly the institutionalization of the Country Governments.

Never the less the KFC will endeavor to make its contributions in generation of information that will inform improvement of productivity together with our development partners. Key will be enhanced tools for lobbying; enhanced responsible growing amongst all growers and an industry wide carbon sinks.

Pest And Diseases whose Control Options Are Limited Or Completely Not Available In Kenya For Some Flowers And Ornamentals.

It has been noted that there are no plant protection products registered in Kenya for the purpose of controlling certain pests and diseases in some minor crops. Most of the registered plant protection products available are approved for few major crops like coffee and roses. In this regard PCPB is in the process of determining which diseases, pests, and crops have limited or very few alternative plant control products with the aim of finding solutions by registering extra products for these pests, diseases or crops.

In order to achieve the above goals and objectives the Kenya Flower Council is working together with all the pesticide industry stakeholders to come up with the diseases, pests, and flower crops which have limited or no plant protection products in place for their effective control.

Working groups has been constituted for flowers and ornamentals, fruits and vegetable and one for cereals and pulses. A meeting will be held in July 2012 to provide the recommendations from the three working groups.

Kenya Human Rights Commission Report on Women Labour Rights Report Validation Meeting and Stakeholder Consultation

The Kenya Human Rights Commission held a validation and consultation meeting with the stakeholders in the flower industry on 14th February 2012, on a research report done in November 2011 by Joyce Gema from React Africa, who was commissioned by KHRC to conduct the study.  The participants included the Ministry of Labour, Kenya Flower Council, Flower Growers, local and international civil society organizations and trade unions.

The research process included visits to companies which were sampled in three flower growing regions in Kenya, which included Naivasha, Thika/Ruiru and Athi River. The report indicated that these regions were selected on the basis of their importance to the cut flower sector, size of the farms, location i.e. rural, peri-urban and urban set-ups as well as the migration patterns for workers.

Out of the fifteen (15) companies sampled nine (9) were Kenya Flower Council members. The researcher informed the meeting that some companies did not give them any co-operation and therefore interviewed the company workers offsite without verifying the findings from the farms.

Out of the nine (9) KFC member farms, one (1) farm was quoted negatively in the report. However, it is good to note the study of this farm was carried out off-site and verifications of the findings were not carried out.

The Study was based on women labour rights which focused on working conditions around six key areas including:

(i)                  Equal pay for equal work,

(ii)                Maternity and Paternity leave,

(iii)               Child support,

(iv)              Sexual harassment,

(v)               Dismissal and

(vi)              Casual labour and Contracts.

The meeting recommended that the report should be reviewed to include certain aspects for example to include how many farms complied with the areas under study out of the total sampled, and which ones were not complying. The report had similarly not captured roles of certification at company level and good practice in the farms.

Growers and stakeholders were requested to submit their comments to Joyce Gema on jgema@reactafrica.com.

However, a similar report from a research conducted in June and July 2011 by Lone Riisgaard (a project researcher) and Peter Gibbon (a senior researcher) from the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) indicated that gender, employment and the division of labour – Women made up a mean of 55.7% and a median of 55.1% of the workforces of the farms surveyed. The survey covered 11 farms located in Naivasha, Nakuru, Nanyuki and Thika. The research was set to examine recent changes in the organization of work and management of labour in the industry, including employment, skills and training; worker deployment systems; wage systems and supervision systems. Central concern was the extent to which these changes could be attributed to labour and environmental standards.

On standards and farm management: in last 10-15 years private labour standards such as Fairtrade (FLO), MPS-SQ and the KFC code have been applied increasingly in the industry – substantive requirements in these private standards have become increasingly stringent (e.g. in relation to maternity leave and other social benefits) and monitoring procedures more participatory (e.g., by using `civil society’ audit shadowing) . At the same time new national labour legislation (passed in 2007) has in several areas strengthened worker entitlements, for example in relation to maternity leave, while also influencing industrial relations processes.

The research findings also showed that the volume of training undertaken in the sector has risen dramatically in recent years. Data collected from 7 of the 11 farms surveyed on the number of workers who had been trained 2005 – 2010; there was a tremendous increase from 1,422 to 10,000 workers per year. There was a high degree of inter-farm variance. The KFC farms surveyed had even dedicated training departments and spending tens of millions on training over 2,000 workers annually.

In Summary, the researcher in his conclusion informed that the Kenyan cut flower sector in 2011 represented a mature industry, several of whose main features have been broadly stabilized in relation to the largely permanent workforce and the presence of well-established training systems mainly designed to meet statutory and certification-related requirements, at the same time labour market institutions have evolved and, unlike in the case of most other large-scale farming systems in Africa, amongst KFC members there is a high level of compliance with labour laws mainly due to observance of the annually audited KFC code of practice.

The workshop observed that national compliance was key to ensuring gender equity, involving and benefiting women in global business. The workshop felt that government through its relevant agencies should create a system to attach the export licence to compliance.

appreciates all its female workers during this year’s Valentine’s Day

As millions of women celebrated this year’s Valentine’s Day with a red rose, down at the Oserian flower farm, all women employees were treated with a bunch of red roses, 1 kg of sugar and rice to crown the day.

Out of 6,000 employees at Oserian 34% are women. Oserian, a member of Kenya Flower Council is and has always been advocating for policies that avail all round opportunities to women at the workplace as per the new Kenyan Labour Laws which advocates for favorable gender issues.

Women in Oserian have health facilities such as the crèche’s and have an allowance of a paid time for one hour to breastfeed their babies. The Women employees have formed organizations to help themselves grow financially such as Upendo Women Group comprising of 38 women, Oserian Women Group comprising of 33 women,  Deaf Self Help Group comprising of over 40 deaf employees, 17 being women.

When it comes to farm working hours, Oserian has spread forty six hours over six days of the week and a paid rest day in a period of seven days.

In recognition to Oserian’s efforts, the company received the International Labour Award (ILO) and Federation of Kenya Employees-Wedge Award for the most responsive company in gender policies in 2010. This award is held annually through Women’s Entrepreneurship Development and Gender Equality (WEDGE) a program under ILO (International Labour Organization).

Oserian was judged the overall winner based on assessment on its gender policy, structures for implementation of the policy, a company representative to oversee implementation of Gender Policy and Support to female employees through the provision of maternity leave, breastfeeding program and crèche services. Oserian is proud of her gender projects to insure women and children rights are safeguarded.

Oserian values the contribution its people and communities surrounding them have been making towards the company and thus their zeal of giving back to them; having done so for years even before it was made a legal mandate to do so.

Naivasha Horticultural Fair 2012

The NAIVASHA HORTICULTURAL FAIR 2012will be held on Friday 14th  & Saturday 15th September 2012 at the Naivasha Sports Club.  The Horticultural Fair was started in 2002 to bring together exhibitors and visitors and is 100% Charitable.

All the money collected goes to local and national charities with a focus on, but not limited to, caring for woman and children.  Children homes, community clinics, HIV/AIDS projects, schools and hospitals all benefit, as well as small desperate case by case donations that make an enormous difference to people’s lives.

International Floriculture Expo in Miami Beach, FL 2012

The International Floriculture Expo (formerly The Super Floral Show) is scheduled to take place from 19th to 22nd June 2012 at Miami Beach Conventional Center, Miami, FL.  It is the U.S. venue where people from every aspect of the floriculture industry come together to network, learn and do business.

Bad weather affects Ethiopia’s flower export for valentine

A recent spell of inclement weather in some of the main horticultural areas proved devastating for Ethiopia’s Valentine’s Day flower exports.

Officials at the Ethiopian Flowers and Vegetables Exporters Association say that cold weather saw the late cutting of flowers, affecting exports to European market for Valentine’s Day.

The association said that the country failed to reach an expected 30 percent increase in exports, as the bad weather delayed flower cutting by up to 15 days.

Horticultural products have, in recent years become one of Ethiopia’s major export products along with traditional coffee.

Source: Hortibiz

Ethiopia earns 133.7 million USD from the export of horticulture

Moreover, Ethiopia has secured 133.7 million USD from the export of horticultural crops in the last seven months, the Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency (EHDA) said.
Agency Director General Haileselassie Tekie said that the country earned the foreign currency from the export of 1.1 billion flower stems and 72.8 thousand tons of fruits, vegetables and herbs in the last seven months (From July 2011-Jan. 2012).

More than 107.5 million USD was obtained from the export of flowers to the international market, while the balance was secured from the sale of fruits, vegetables and herbs. The foreign currency the country earned from the sector in the stated period has increased by 22.7 millions USD in revenue compared to last year same period.
Incentives and the necessary support are being provided by the government of Ethiopia, the number of foreign and local investors engaged in the sector is on the increase, the Director General said.  More than 105 horticulture producer and exporters companies are operating in the country, of which over 70 per cent of them are foreign and joint venture, it was learnt.

Source: This news article was prepared and sent to 2merkato.com by Mekonnen Hailu, Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency (EHDA)’s senior communication expert.

Global Outlook on the Cut Flowers Industry

Global Industry Analysts, Inc (GIA) announced the release of a comprehensive global outlook on the Cut Flowers Industry. Flowers, once considered to be mere decorative items, are now gaining recognition as special occasion items with rapid changes in the customer attitudes.

The global cut flowers market is extremely dynamic. Flower varieties, production centres, cultivation methods, marketing, and supply techniques, are all undergoing continuous changes. The market players are challenged to adapt to these changes. Cut flower exporters from developing nations are gaining market share at the expense of existing players from developed nations. Leading flower growers are trying to regain lost market share by increasing the production and quality of the flowers, and through innovation and diversification.

The global economic crisis took its toll on the cut flowers market as sales of fresh cut flowers withered, owing to the frugal spending patterns, and currency fluctuations. Rising costs and stagnant prices reduced grower margins, obliging growers to shift focus towards cost leadership through producing bulk products, scaling up, and specializing in products targeting particular market segments. Though the recession had affected the sales and trading of fresh cut flowers, it has not completely wilted the bloom in the market. Global cut flowers market witnessed a positive growth in 2010, after a decline in 2009, both in terms of acreage and value, with emphasis having shifted to developing regions exporting to the industrialized countries.

Higher levels of disposable incomes, and supermarkets and other retail stores featuring exclusive outlets for flowers primarily drove the change. Finally, online trading of fresh flowers has become immensely popular because of the convenience factor. Over the years, online purchase has gained in popularity mainly because of convenience and easy delivery service and this holds true especially for fresh cut flowers arrangements. Increasing consumer demand for high quality products is driving the need to export only premium quality flowers.

The flower industry is attracting new entrants despite various entry barriers such as huge capital, technical expertise, and infrastructure. Low production, ineffective cold storage systems and poor transportation has limited the competitiveness of developing countries such as India and China. Besides the traditional growers, which include the US, Japan, Italy, Netherlands, and Colombia, recent times have witnessed the emergence of new producers, especially in Asia where countries have taken to horticulture on a large scale.
The research report titled “Cut Flowers: A Global Outlook” provides a collection of statistical anecdotes, market briefs, and concise summaries of research findings. The report briefly discusses the overview and trends in the global cut flowers market, demand patterns for various types of cut flowers, international trade, and role of distribution channels in sales of cut flowers. For more details about this comprehensive industry report, please visit – www.strategyr.com/Cut_Flowers_Industry_Market_Report.asp

Source: PR Web> FloraHolland

No peak prices for Valentine’s Day

The flower sales for Valentine of this year were disappointing and the not as good as last year. This is according to the Dutch organization of exporter VGB after talking to its members. At the last days before Valentine, the prices at FloraHolland were relatively low, because there was more supply than demand for many types of flowers.

“Prices were a bit higher than in other weeks, but not really the top prices you would expect for Valentine’s Day”, says one of the Dutch exporters. The bad weather conditions in various European countries have tempered the flower trade. “It was all very difficult”, says Wim Wesseling exporter in Aalsmeer. Board member Harry Brockhoff of the Dutch Flower Group, the largest export company in the country, shares this view. “Sales to foreign importing wholesalers stayed behind last year,” he says. “And because of less demand, Friday and Monday prices went down sharply.”

“This year we did not peak at Valentine,” says Ab Weerman, owner of a cash-and-carry for florists. “There were too many obstacles, even in Germany, the largest export market for Dutch flowers. The weather was the main obstacle.” But according to other wholesalers also the ongoing economic crisis, as in Greece and other European countries, has a negative effect on the sales. “People are becoming more cautious.”

Source: VGB > Hortibiz

Plans for new floriculture centre in India

The state government of BHihar in the north east of India is all set to establish a modern floriculture centre at Bhaganbigha in Nalanda district for cultivation of flowers, including rose, jasmine, gerbera and tuberous, in greenhouses, glass houses and Shednet houses.

Agriculture secretary-cum-director, National Horticulture Mission (NHM), N Vijaylakshmi, told TOI that a single greenhouse would cover 10,000 square metres with facilities for controlling temperature and humidity level for creating ideal climatic condition for growing the respective flowers round the year. She said every greenhouse will have a fogger for creating misty rain for providing moisture to flowering plants.

She said the state government, in collaboration with NHM, has planned development of floriculture in a big way. Extreme weather conditions – temperature below 3-4 degree Celsius and above 25-30 degree Celsius – in Bihar at different points of time are not suited for growing exotic flowers, including cut roses, which have good demand in Patna and other cities in Bihar. As of now, exotic flowers are imported from Bangalore and other cities.

Under a government and NHM plan, 90% subsidy is given for creating greenhouse, Shednet house and for purchase of planting material, so as to encourage farmers to take to floriculture in a big way, she said.

Vijaylakshmi said that a greenhouse was recently set up at Janipur on the outskirts of Patna for growing Gerbera, used in making bouquets and decorating houses. My dream is to promote floriculture, which would generate self-employment among youths, she said adding that a course of diploma in floriculture may be started in future.

Despite high demand for marigold and other exotic flowers round the year, particularly during marriage season and elections, in Bihar, flower cultivation in the state is low. Agriculture scientist Anil Kumar Jha said that under the National Horticulture Mission, 768 acres, mostly in Patna and Jehanabad districts, have been brought under flower cultivation with 90% subsidy for growing marigold and 50% subsidy for growing rose and other exotic flowers. The target is to bring another 300 hectares land under flower cultivation.

According to state horticulture directorate sources, the farmers given subsidies grew rose plants in 68 hectares producing 86.48 lakh flowers and 161.1 lakh spikes of gladiolus in over 80 hectares during the last financial year. Tuberous (rajnigandha) was grown in 105 hectares with an annual yield of 522 tonnes and Jasmine in 70 hectares, sources added.

Source: Times of India

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