EU – East African Community (EAC) EPA discussions in Brussels (18-20 April 2012)
EU and East African Community (EAC) negotiators met at technical level in Brussels from 18 to 20 April 2012 to discuss dispute settlement, institutional provisions, agriculture, economic and development cooperation, sustainable development and good governance in tax matters. Good progress was made on several of the above-mentioned issues. This paves the way for the next round of negotiations to be held in Mombasa (Kenya), in May. This meeting was the fifth since last September when EAC and the EU resumed negotiations, thus confirming that the EPA process is on track. The Parties are following an agreed roadmap which should lead to the conclusion of negotiations by summer 2012.
Meanwhile, the EAC will convene a Muilti-Sectoral committee experts meeting from 16th to 18th May 2012 in Kigali Rwanda to harmonize the issues to be discussed in the next COMESA SADC Tripartite meeting.
The EAC region includes the East African nations of Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. They initialed a “framework” or “interim” Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU in 2007, which was neither signed nor ratified. They are now engaged in further EPA negotiations with the EU.
The EU represents an important trade partner for the region, with around €3 billion of imports from the EU (mainly oil products, medicines, machinery and mechanical equipment, cars, aircrafts, electrical appliances etc.) and around €2 billion of exports towards the EU (mainly agro-food products: coffee, tea, fresh cut flowers, fisheries, tobacco, cocoa etc.) in 2010. Kenya, the biggest economy and the only non – Least Developed Country (LDC) in the region, heavily relies on the EU (which represents 31% of its export market) for selling its cut flowers, tea, vegetables and coffee.
Source: EU- Tradenews
Equity Bank and KHCP launch a credit facility for smallholder flower farmers
The push for smallholder flower farmers to enter into auctions that have remained a domain of medium and larger growers got a shot in the arm following the launch of a credit facility administered by Equity Bank and the Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project (KHCP).
Through Wilmar Agro Ltd, a consortium of smallholder growers- some 40 farmers in Nyeri and Kiambu counties will access the Kshs 3.9 million ($48,750) pilot credit facility to help them to expand flower production and improve quality.
“The funds will enable farmers to procure improved technologies such as shade nets, drip irrigation systems, soil analysis, improved varieties, and other farm inputs”, KHCP said in a joint communiqué with Equity Bank.
At the moment, Wilmar is shipping 120 boxes of flowers weekly to the US, whose market potential for Kenya is expected to grow.
Research conducted by Wilmar on suitable varieties for smallholder production is leading to increasing competitiveness at the auctions where specialized products for blending bouquets are in high demand.
The recently introduced Mollucela, a summer flower variety produced by smallholders in the two counties is reported to have taken the markets by storm.
Attempts to introduce the flower in 2009 failed when the variety proved difficult to grow in the open field due to high disease resulting from heavy rainfall.
To tackle the challenge, KHCP has introduced a technological package, which includes a greenhouse tunnel, drip irrigation, soil analysis and integrated pest management. Eight research and demonstration units have been set up and the first flowers were harvested this month in Sagana, Nyeri County.
“The quality has been excellent with a total of 828 stems harvested from just two beds, earning one farmer Ksh10, 800 ($135). The flowers were packed and air-freighted to the Dutch auction where they are enjoying good prices,” said Wilmar managing director Wilfred Kamami, who says the prevailing earnings are a premium of Ksh13.50 per stem
By Catherine Riungu
Colombia and Ecuador dominate Russian market
Herman de Boon, chairman of the organization of Dutch exporters of flowers and plants VGB is worried about the increased direct export of flowers from Ecuador and Colombia to Russia. “The Netherlands have to stay the central place for international flower trade. For that reasons the sector has to become more international”, he says. De Boon refers to a report of his organization which shows that the South American countries are the major players in the flower import of Russia.
From the VGB report, the Russian flower import from Colombia has a value of 46 million euro/year, while the value which comes from the Netherlands is 22 million euro. Ecuador exports 100 million euro of flowers to Russia and 44 million euro to the Netherlands. From the 300 million euro of Kenyan flower export, 170 million euro goes to the Netherlands. 90% of the 120 million euro of flowers from Ethiopia is exported to the Netherlands.
The VGB report gives also information about the exporters of flower and plants in the Netherlands of which the number has decreased over the past years. But the total turn-over of the exporters increased.
In the past 7 years, the number of exporters in the Netherland went down from 1014 to 729. Two-thirds of these companies (589) exports to Germany. The Dutch export value of flowers and plants to Germany is about 1,600 billion euro per year, which is 30% of the total Dutch export. After Germany, the United Kingdom and France are the numbers two and three in the chart of the most important export destinations.
After a decline in 2008 and 2009, in 2011 the total Dutch export of flowers and plants was back on the level of 2007. This year, the increase is continuous. In the first quarter of 2012, the export was 7% higher than in the same period in 2011.
Dutch export flowers and plants 7% higher
In the first quarter of the year, the export of flowers and plants from the Netherlands increased by 7%. According to the Dutch marketing board HBAG, the total export value reached €1.5 billion. The increase is due to the good weather and the favourable dates of special flower days like Women’s Day and Valentine’s Day.
The export to Germany, the major market for Dutch flowers and plants, went up by 6% to €29.3 million. To England the export increased by 21% to 41.5 million. To Russia the increase was even bigger (43%)., which make the export value to reach €26.6 million.
Besides countries who imported more flowers and plants, there were also countries which imported less, like France (-5%), Italy (-4%) and Belgium (-7%).
List of flower types and the meanings/ sentiment they portray
Rose (bridal) – happy love
Rose (dark crimson) – mourning
Rose (hibiscus) – delicate beauty
Rose (leaf) – you may hope
Rose (pink) – perfect happiness, please believe me
Rose (red) – love, I love you
Rose (tea) – I’ll remember always
Rose (thornless) – love at first sight
Rose (white) – innocence and purity, I am worthy of you, you’re heavenly, secrecy and silence
Rose (white and red mixed) – unity, flower emblem of England
Rose (white-dried) – death is preferable to loss of virtue
Rose (yellow) – decrease of love, jealousy, try to care
Rosebud – beauty and youth, a heart innocent of love
Rosebud (red) – pure and lovely
Rosebud (white) – girlhood
Rosebud (moss) – confessions of love
Roses (bouquet of mature blooms) – gratitude
Roses (single full bloom) – i love you, i still love you