KFC Chairman reelected as a Director in Union Fleur Board
The Kenya Flower Council Chairman Mr. Richard Fox who is also the Director of Finlays Horticulture Kenya Limited has been reelected as a Director in the Union Fleurs Board. Mr. Fox is the Chairman of World Trade Committee. The elections were held on 20th April 2012 during the Union Fleurs, 2012 General Assembly, held in Straelen, Germany. The event was co-hosted by its German member organization BGI and its Dutch member organization VGB.
Union Fleur is the International Flower Trade Association where Kenya Flower Council is a member. The new Union Fleurs Board of Directors will work for the next two years (2012-2014) under the leadership of Lennart Loven (Spain) on his second term as President of Union Fleurs, with the close support of Herman de Boon (Netherlands) as Vice-President.
The new Board is made of the following representatives from different countries:
• Lennart Loven, President (FEPEX, Spain)
• Herman de Boon, Vice-President (VGB, Netherlands)
• Frank Zeiler, Chairman EU section (BGI, Germany)
• Richard Fox, Chairman World Trade Committee (Kenya Flower Council, Kenya)
• Augusto Solano, Chairman Americas Committee (Asocolflores, Colombia)
• Gülsen Bay, Relationship Manager (Ornamental Plants & Products Exporters Union, Turkey)
The election of this new Board of Directors follows a busy period for Union Fleurs that saw the organization relocate its headquarters in Brussels in 2010 and revamp its internal functioning with the election of Sylvie Mamias as the new Secretary General.
Building on the excellent work carried out by the outgoing Board of Directors in the past two years towards increasing the visibility and pro-active approach of Union Fleurs as a member-driven organization, the new team will dedicate its efforts into addressing the challenges facing the floricultural sector and ensuring a close cooperation between all the market players within the global supply chain.
During the General Assembly new members who included Agriver Agricultural Ltd – Israel, Confindustria Imperia – Italy and MPS – Netherlands were officially welcomed to the association.
Keeping in line with its general mission of securing a favourable trading environment and the free flow of floricultural products from supplying countries to consumption markets under sound, fair and sustainable competitive conditions, Union Fleurs has recently been very involved in Brussels to ensure that the major supplying countries such as Kenya, Colombia and Ecuador can continue to enjoy duty free market access to the major importing and consumption markets, be it via unilateral preferential schemes such as GSP+ or bilateral free-trade agreements.
These efforts will be continued and pushed forward by the new Board of Directors, with the daily support of Sylvie Mamias in Brussels, to ensure that the floricultural industry can in the long run keep making a major contribution to the economic growth of the producing countries and secure the availability of a wide variety of quality flowers and plants for importers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers in the destination markets, as well as supporting jobs in each segment of the chain.
Over 40 participants from 15 countries from the EU countries, Turkey, Israel, Morocco, Kenya, Colombia, Japan and the United States attended the meeting. Guests from partner organizations like FLORINT and AIPH were in attendance providing an opportunity to address issues of common interest across the floricultural branch such as the promotion of floricultural products and the sustainability agenda for the sector.
Besides the General Assembly meeting, participants also spent a full day exploring the 2012 Floriade in Venlo, Netherlands, where a cocktail reception for Union Fleurs members was hosted by the Turkish pavilion, and visited the Veiling Rhein-Maas in Straelen-Herongen as well as the Leurs GardenCenter in Venlo.
Union Fleurs members will next meet in Brussels from 5 to 9 December 2012.
The new Union Fleurs Board of Directors (2012-2014)
Bottom row (left to right): Gülsen Bay (Ornamental Plants and Products Exporters Union / Turkey), Sylvie Mamias (Union Fleurs / Brussels) and Herman de Boon (VGB / Netherlands)
H.E. Angelino Carzon, Vice President of Colombia Visits Kenya
THE Vice President of the republic of Colombia H.E. Angelino Carzon, accompanied by a delegation from Columbia visited Kenya on 22nd – 23rd April 2012. The delegation met with Kenyan counterparts who included policy level executives of private sector business community at the residence of the Ambassador of Columbia, Nairobi. The Kenya Flower Council Chief Executive Jane Ngige attended the meeting.
According to International Trade Centre (ITC ) reports, Kenya exported Cut flowers and flower buds for bouquets, fresh or dried valued at 4,000 US dollars out of the 639,000 US dollars of total exports to Columbia in 2010. Other products exported from Kenya to Columbia include live trees, Plants, bulbs, cuttings & slips; mushroom spawn among others.
In the same year Kenya imported products from Columbia worth 2,306,000 US dollars for example inorganic chemicals, precious metal compound, isotopes etc.
The US Free Trade Agreements with Colombia was signed on October 21, 2011, but the agreements have not been implemented.
The delegation encouraged Kenyans to plan as many trade missions as possible between Kenya and Columbia for information sharing and collaboration.
The vice president also met with his counterpart Hon. Kalonzo Musyoka to discuss matters of mutual interest and to present his candidature for the post of Director General of the international Labour Organization during elections scheduled for 29th may 2012.
Prof. Wahungu takes over the Leadership of NEMA
Professor Geoffrey Wahungu is the new Director General of National Enviroment Management Authority (NEMA). Prof Wahungu, formerly dean school of Natural Resources and Environment Studies at Karatina University College holds a BSC in wildlife management from Moi University and a masters and PHD in wildlife ecology.
While receiving the Director General, the Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources Hon. Chirau Ali Mwakwere said Kenyans have great expectations on the NEMA to sustainably manage all development activities in the country to conserve the environment for future generations.
The Minister advised him to discharge his duties professionally without fear or favour and to be patriotic, pointing out that how NEMA manages the environment will determine Kenya’s social economic future.
Permanent Secretary Ali Mohamed said NEMA is in the public spotlight as Kenyans are very enlightened on environmental issues and said that it will be restructured to conform to the devolved system of Government as per the Kenya constitution 2010.
The P.S. said it is absolutely vital for Environment Impact Assessments (EIA’s) by NEMA to be strictly professional and corrupt free as misuse of the EIA’s process can lead to massive environmental degradation countrywide.
The P.S. stressed that the EIA process must be 100 per cent corrupt free noting that NEMA which is mandated to carry out the assessments and give the green light for the commencement of any development activities in the country is the only tool to manage the environment sustainably for the country.
He further said NEMA will be restructured in line with the Kenya constitution 2010 to the counties as the devolved system of government demands.
Nairobi-Atlanta Flights on the Horizon?
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s new terminal may be what’s needed to launch a direct Atlanta-Nairobi, Kenya, flight, Raila Odinga, the Kenya prime minister, told GlobalAtlanta while visiting Atlanta April 26.
The Prime Minister said a major concern of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration is that arriving and departing passengers to and from Nairobi’s airport must remain separated.
“The new terminal will be able to do that,” he added, “and it is to be completed in four months.”
The JKIA airport’s expansion began last year and is expected to handle 9 million passengers a year from the current traffic of more than 6 million passengers.
Delta Air Lines Inc. scheduled a flight from Atlanta to Kenya in 2009, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Administration, which oversees the TSA, nixed it June 1, the day before it was to make its inaugural flight.
The flight was scheduled to leave Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, cross the Atlantic and make a stop in Dakar, Senegal, before continuing east across the continent to Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.
TSA never issued an official explanation except to indicate “security vulnerabilities in and around Nairobi” as the cause for the abrupt cancellation.
Kenya Airways, Kenya’s most established airline, is a member of the SkyTeam alliance that includes 14 members in addition to Delta.
The prime Minister said that should there be such a flight he would anticipate U.S. investors, tourists, academicians and members of Africa’s diaspora community in the Southeast to use the flight.
Kenyans would enjoy flying directly to Atlanta, he added, because they currently have to make a stopover in Europe, often for as long as a day.
He also indicated it would help Kenyan exporters of coffee, cut flowers, tea, textiles and other items.
Another loosely related impetus for a direct flight is that members of Kenya’s diaspora now have the right to dual citizenship.
They show their attachment in several ways, he said. The diaspora communities reinforce their ties to their homeland through social media and keep Kenyans informed as to what is going on in the U.S. They also send important remittances to their Kenyan family members, he said.
As recently as last week, he added, the Kenya government began to register Kenyans living abroad in an effort to encourage them to maintain their Kenyan citizenship, which has been guaranteed in the country’s new constitution.
Americans also are now able, he said, to become Kenyan citizens without having to give up their U.S. citizenship.
Kenya Central Bank Rejects Calls to Cut Record Rate
Kenya’s central bank rejected calls from politicians and businesses to cut its benchmark interest rate from a record as fuel prices increase, adding to pressure on inflation in East Africa’s largest economy.
The Monetary Policy Committee, led by Governor Njuguna Ndung’u, left the policy rate at 18 percent for a fifth consecutive meeting. Five out of seven economists predicted the decision, while two forecast a one percentage- point cut.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga last month added his voice to calls from businesses and consumers for lower borrowing costs. While the annual inflation rate fell for a fifth month in April to 13.1 percent, it’s still above the central bank’s target of bringing it down to 9 percent by June, limiting the scope to cut interest rates and spur growth.
“With this decision, the central bank isn’t acting on what the market wants or public pressure to lower rates, but the fundamentals,” Alexander Muiruri, a fixed-income analyst at Nairobi-based African Alliance Investment Bank Ltd., said in a phone interview. “Until the inflation numbers justify a move, they won’t move.”
The bank has kept its key rate unchanged this year after a drought and a slump in the currency prompted the MPC to boost the rate by 12.25 percentage points over six meetings in 2011. The central bank in neighboring Uganda, where drought spurred inflation last year, kept its key lending rate unchanged at 21 percent on May 2.
High interest rates have drawn foreign investment and helped buoy the shilling, which has gained 28 percent since falling to a record 106.75 per dollar on October 11. The currency was trading at 83.06 per dollar by 6:48 p.m on Thursday in Nairobi yesterday, compared with 82.95 before the announcement.
Kenya is the world’s largest exporter of black tea and its flower shipments to Europe account for one third of sales there. The government said last month a weaker global economy may undermine its target of 5.2 percent growth in 2012, compared with an estimated 4.5 percent last year.
Flower prices remain at high level at FloraHolland
The weather in Holland and in big parts of Europe is continuously cool and rainy. Together with the Orthodox Easter in Russia and its neighbouring countries, and with some encouragement of the weak Euro against the Russian Ruble and the British Pound – the prices of cut flowers at FloraHolland kept on their high level, even after the Easter holidays.
At FloraHolland, prices of cut flowers in weeks 15 and 16 were slightly lower than in weeks 13 and 14 of the pre-holiday, but kept on being higher than the same week last year; especially since the supplied quantities were lower than last year in most products, because last year this time was extremely hot weather in Europe. The weather forecast for Holland still expects low temperatures and rainy days for the coming week; in Germany they expect some more spring like weather, yet with rainy days.
Holland has just celebrated the Queens’ Birthday on 30 April, which will be followed by the Memorial Day and the Liberation day. Therefore the national colours of Holland – orange, red, blue, and white – are highly demanded in the Dutch domestic market nowadays.
With some local ‘flower days’ during the coming two weeks, everybody hopes to keep the momentum with high prices toward the ‘big’ Mother’s Day on 13 May, one of the peak events of the international flower market.