Trade Promotion through Standardization in the EAC region
Customers, consumers and shareholders are increasingly concerned with the environmental impact of the activities, products and services they consume. The Kenya Flower Council is proactively involved in various discussions fore on carbon foot print of product standard setting.
Arising from concerns that such a standard will become a trade barrier for the exporters, the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat together with the East African Business Council (EABC) and supported by SIDA Sweden intend to use the ISO 14067 as a case for building capacity in the region for standard implementation. The objective is to attain ownership among the private sector, to understand the future market relevance of the standard and what can future demands on carbon declarations/labeling among retailers and consumers on international markets mean for exporters from the EAC region.
During a regional workshop held on 30th to 31st August 2012, an array of stakeholders deliberated on the necessary capacity building in the region among private and public sectors, National Standards Bodies and institutions, for an efficient way of using the international standard ISO 14067. This includes capacity to use the Life Cycle Analysis methodology according to international standards and to generate necessary and adequate Product Category Rules (PCR) for exporters in the region to access. Towards the end of the workshop, participants identified 5 EAC export products, one from each partner states, that should be used as pilot products in the implementation of the ISO 14067 standard. For Kenya, flowers were identified as priority one.
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has indicated interest to provide financial resources to support this program among the EAC Countries between 2012 to 2014. A final decision should be communicated by mid-November.
Passion, a term often applied to a lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity or love – to a feeling of unusual excitement, enthusiasm or compelling emotion, a positive affinity or love, towards a subject, idea, person, or object. A single word but one that carries a whole load of meaning and this is the word that Jack Kneppers uses to explain why he chose the career he is in right now. He said this when Kenya Flower Council visited his farm accompanying Marc van der Sterren, a Journalist from Holland
Jack Kneppers is an owner and a Director at Maridadi Flowers Limited. Having grown up with parents who were flower farmers, Jack didn’t think twice on what he wanted to become. Deciding on this career path did not come on as a whim. He started the farm together with his brother nine and a half years ago. The rose flower farm, located at Flower Business Park, Naivasha at an altitude of 1950 above sea level is 42 ha in size with 36 ha under production.
They have their employees at heart and to appreciate their hardwork Maridadi flowers have taken it upon themselves to provide transport to and from work with their three buses. In addition, the employees enjoy free lunch and also healthcare. According to Jack the farm requires a huge number of employees to be fully operational. The labour cost which is becoming significant currently second from the airfreight cost. Maridadi Flowers is currently paying about 160% more on labour compared to when they started.
In the markets, Jack says the prices are going up even though the production is 15-20% less due to the cold weather spell. Jack says they are 9.5% behind compared to last year.
All is not milk and honey as Jack has over the years discovered. The business of flower farming has its own share of challenges and in this case some of them include the delays in VAT refund by the Kenya Revenue Authority needless to say hampering further expansions.
Maridadi has not been left behind in regard to water conservation. They harvest rain water from the greenhouses reserving it in their water reservoirs. They are currently digging an extra dam to hold about 80,000 cubic metres of water. Flower Business Park Ltd has about 10 boreholes of which they supply all the companies in the park.
They never endanger neither their mission nor the people involved. They are never satisfied with the second best alternatives. To them it’s either number one or number one.
No matter the scope, whatever quality you need; Maridadi Flowers will deliver. Regardless.
The KFC Certification Committee Meets for Farms Certification:
The KFC Certification Committee met on 5.9.2012 to certify farms that were audited in the third quarter of the year that is, from June – August 2012. Twenty farms were presented for approval.
Three were certified on KFC Silver Standard, and sixteen approved for both KFC Silver Standard alongside GLOBALG.A.P Flowers and Ornamentals. Three of the latter sixteen were also approved for the KFC Gold Standard Certification. The remaining one producer had only applied for GLOBALG.A.P Certification, and was therefore only approved for GlobalG.A.P.
The KFC Certification Committee noted that compliance within the reviewed farms had improved commendably; and urged farms to keep up the spirit.
The next Certification Committee is scheduled to take place on 5.12.2012.
The water management project to be officially opened
During the past year, a group of Green Farming members has been active in developing and setting up a demonstration project on water management for the Kenyan horticultural sector. The project has been developed in close cooperation with Van den Berg Roses in Naivasha.
The project will be officially opened on Saturday September 15th, 2012 starting from 9.30 am at Van den Berg Roses on Moi South Lake Road Naivasha.
The demonstration project is an initiative of Green Farming member Bosman, in cooperation with Hoogendoorn Growth Management, Van der Knaap Group, Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture, Genap, Hatenboer-Water and DLV Plant. The project is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation.
The purpose of the project is to demonstrate that through the implementation of best practice technology and management, water and nutrient use in protected and open horticultural production systems can be reduced and production quantity and quality can be increased at the same time. The aim is to realize this through a hydroponic system with fully controllable crop inputs and recyclable fertigation water.
With this project, the Green Farming members wish to convince the Kenyan horticulture sector that the higher level technology, although having higher initial investments costs, on the long run will be most cost effective. For more information on the project, please visit http://www.greenfarming.nl/nl/node/313.
During the opening ceremony there will be a tour to see the project set up in the greenhouse and the different technology components of the project. All project partners will be present to provide information on the technology.
To confirm your participation kindly write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s ShambaCareers. Just for the Horticulture sector…..
During the Naivasha Hortifair, ShambaCareers will have its official launch! ShambaCareers is the first horticultural dedicated job board in Kenya. Finding horticultural professionals has become a difficult task.
This will be the first horticultural dedicated job board in Kenya: The place where agricultural companies and professionals meet!
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Bilashaka Flowers gets their ‘Next Top Variety’
On August 29, 70 Rose buyers payed rose grower Zuurbier a visit in Kudelstaart where they were asked to pick ‘the Next Top Variety’ for the Zuurbier farm in Kenya among 62 new species. The winner was the cerise-colored rose Wink from Terra Nigra.
The group liked its colour, its full bud and its fresh and bright appearance. Zuurbier organized the event to search for the best new varieties to plant. The event gave a good view of the opinion of buyers.
“As growers, we look at things like productivity, resistance against diseases, colour and the number of thorns. But we also want to know the opinion of the market”, says Bert Middelkoop from Zuurbier.
Zuurbier asked all rose breeders to hand in five new varieties. 13 breeders did, which resulted in a selection of 62 varieties. All these roses were produced in Kenya; most of them in Naivasha, where the Zuurbier farm Bilashaka a member of Kenya Flower Council is situated.
In a form, the buyers judged different characters of the roses. To the buyers, the event was useful as they could get a good overview of the new varieties
“Coming here is good to get out of our desks and from behind the computer”, says Hugo van de Koppel from Hoven en de Mooij. “These days, nothing gets organised anymore in the Dutch rose sector. Therefore, this initiative is very special”, he adds.
Koppel and other buyers were impressed with the roses they saw, of which the majority were bi-coloured, yellow, white and red.
The fisrt fivetop most varieties were the yellow Moonwalk from Interplant, the orange Mpesa from Terra Nigra, the yellow Penny Lane from Jan Speke Roses and the Royal Sphinx from Preesman
In the top-five, there were no bi-coloured sorts. “This is a clear statement from the buyers. They prefer colours which can be well defined. In this way, they can clearly communicate with their clients in different languages”, says Middelkoop. Before making a final choice, Zuurbier will further research the varieties, like their availability, price and productivity.
The Netherlands: Little impact crisis on agri sector
The economic downturn of the Dutch economy has had little to no impact on the agricultural sector’s contribution to the economy in terms of added value and employment, currently estimated at approximately 10%. This is one of the conclusions in the Agricultural Economic Report 2012.
The systemic, gradual decline in employment in the agricultural sector and the other parts of the agricultural production chains can be attributed to increasing productivity.
The effects of the present euro crisis on the Dutch agricultural sector are determined by a number of factors. In view of the Netherlands’ relatively low exports to Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain (in 2011 12% of total exports to the EU), the impact of the situation in these countries (and Greece’s potential exit from the Eurozone) on the Dutch agricultural sector will be limited.
The summary of the Agricultural Economic Report 2012 offers a global survey of the economic and financial state of Dutch agriculture and horticulture. In it, the changing economic and political circumstances affecting the sector are explicitly taken into account. The complete report, which is available only in Dutch, is based on data and contributions from the various research fields of the institute. Link to the summary of the report (in English)
Did you know……….
The carbon footprint is a measure of the exclusive total amount of carbon dioxide emissions that is directly and indirectly caused by an activity or is accumulated over the life stages of a product.
A carbon footprint is “the total set of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person.” Greenhouse gases can be emitted through transport, land clearance, and the production and consumption of food, fuels, manufactured goods, materials, wood, roads, buildings, and services. For simplicity of reporting, it is often expressed in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide, or its equivalent of other GHGs, emitted. The concept name of the carbon footprint originates from ecological footprint discussion. The carbon footprint is a subset of the ecological footprint and of the more comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). An individual’s, nation’s, or organization’s carbon footprint can be measured by undertaking a GHG emissions assessment. Once the size of a carbon footprint is known, a strategy can be devised to reduce it, e.g. by technological developments, better process and product management, changed Green Public or Private Procurement (GPP), carbon capture, consumption strategies, and others.
The mitigation of carbon footprints through the development of alternative projects, such as solar or wind energy or reforestation, represents one way of reducing a carbon footprint and is often known as Carbon offsetting The main influences on carbon footprints include population, economic output, and energy and carbon intensity of the economy. These factors are the main targets of individuals and businesses in order to decrease carbon footprints. Scholars suggest the most effective way to decrease a carbon footprint is to either decrease the amount of energy needed for production or to decrease the dependence on carbon emitting fuels.