July 2010 Issue 1

Horticulture industry holds a Workshop on stakeholder mapping and consultation for the horticulture draft policy

The Kenya flower council participated in a workshop held in Panorama Hotel, Naivasha on 23rd and 24th June 2010 on stakeholder mapping and consultation for the horticulture draft policy. It was organized by the Agricultural Sector Coordinating Unit (ASCU) under the Ministry of Agriculture.

The stakeholders were categorized into three main areas; production, Processing and marketing. The regions for mapping out the stakeholders were as follows:

  1. North Rift and western provinces
  2. South Rift and Nyanza provinces
  3. Upper Eastern and Central Provinces
  4. Lower Eastern and Coast Provinces

A value chain average representation of the following was adopted for each region.

  1. Horticulture producer
  2. Representative of farmer groups-(common interest groups)
  3. Input provider/stockiest
  4. Produce traders
  5. Transporters
  6. Small & medium processors/consumers/hoteliers
  7. Service providers
  8. Exporters
  9. Unique case studies

10.  Breeders especially of flowers

The tools for carrying out the exercise of interacting with the stakeholders were suggested as follows:

  1. One day standard Power point presentation workshop to the identified stakeholders from whom views will be collected.
  2. Four day visit to the identified stakeholder respondents from whom information will be collected by engaging in a free conversation guided checklist.

Stakeholders from whom information shall be gathered will be defined by the draft policy committee who will then forward this information to the District Agricultural Officers (DAO) in the different ATCs.

The teams carrying out the exercise of mapping out stakeholders will comprise of 4 persons per group who have been consistent in the draft policy development process.


Farmers 6
INPUT providers 2
Produce traders 2
Transporters 2
Small medium processors 3
Service providers 6
Exporters 6
Unique cases 3

The routes to be followed in identifying and meeting stakeholders in the four regions were identified and listed. It was proposed that the exercise should commence on 18th July 2010 and end on 23rd July 2010.

Kenya France Trade Mission – 21st to 24 the September 2010

The preparatory meetings on the Kenya France Trade Mission are in top gear and the 4th preparatory committee meeting on 13th July 2010. The Kenya Flower Council sits in both the main committee and the Trade sub committee.

It has already been confirmed that the France Chamber of Commerce will provide a hall/stand for Kenya to exhibit free of charge. The exhibitors will be allowed to sell whatever products they will carry.

The private sector will be the main players in the exhibition where the government institutions will just be support arms. The Key speakers who will make presentations will be drawn from various Kenyan institutions.

Promotional materials

All the sectors will provide promotional material which will be translated into French by the Kenya Embassy in France.

Travelling and accommodation

All participants are expected take care of their travel and accommodation expenses. The Ministry of foreign affairs is consulting on accommodation rates and they will give updates.


Different sectors will provide their products for exhibiting. The Kenya flower Council will provide promotional materials and flowers. In this regard, we are requesting the growers to provide flowers, brochures and other materials for the event.


The event will be held from 21st to 24th September 2010 in Paris. Members interested in participating in the trade mission are requested to contact KFC. Please forward any questions and/or concerns to KFC for presentation in the subsequent preparatory meeting.

A journalist for Ouest-France visit kenya

A journalist for Ouest-France which is the largest French daily newspaper Mr. Patrice Moyon, came to Kenya  get a story on the flower industry in Kenya. Mr. Moyon visited Kenya Flower Council offices on Monday 28th June 2010 for an interview with the Chief Executive Officer, Jane Ngige.

Mr. Moyon will also visit a farm for a more indepth interview. Below is the interview conducted in KFC offices between Mrs. Ngige and Mr. Moyon.

Moyon: Briefly tell me about Kenya Flower Council

Mrs. Ngige: The Kenya Flower Council is a private voluntary association established in 1996 with the purpose of bringing together independent growers and exporters of cut flowers and ornamentals to advocate for an enabling business in Kenya. KFC seeks to provide a common platform for growers and exporters and ensure the implementation of acceptable local and international standards. This includes promoting responsible and safe production of cut flowers in Kenya while protecting the natural environment and promoting the welfare of all farm staff.

Moyon:  What are the primary locations in Kenya that the flower industry operates?

Mrs. Ngige: Mt. Kenya, Athi River, Rift valley and Naivasha where 60% of the flowers are grown

Moyon:  What are the primary flower species that the Kenyan industry produces?

Mrs. Ngige: Roses form 60% of the production. Others include lilies, eryngium, hypericum, carnations, lisiunthus and others.

Moyon: what types of jobs does the industry create for the local economy?

Mrs. Ngige: 50-60,000 people are employed directly by flower farms, 80% are non skilled workers out of which 60% are women.  Another over 500,000 people depends indirectly on the flower industry, through service and products industries, impacting on over 2m livelihoods in Kenya.

Moyon: Other than the flower sub-sector what are the horticulture sub-sectors and what does is it account for?

Mrs. Ngige: other sectors include nuts, Fruits and vegetables. In 2009 horticulture was third after tourism and tea sector in foreign exchange earning to the Kenyan economy contributing 71 billion Kenya shillings.

However there was a drop in 2009 compared with 2008 since during that year Kenya was experiencing a lot of hardship. Some of them included economic crisis, political problems in 2008 and climatic changes drought. This year there might be a further drop because of the ash cloud as a result of the volcano eruption in Iceland.

Moyon: How did the flower industry become big in Kenya?  Can you give us a little history?

Mrs. Ngige: The Kenyan flower industry has gone through a significant maturing since 1990. Kenya’s export volume has continued to grow from 14,000 tons in 1990 to 39,000 tons in 2000 to 61,000 tons by 2003 and about 90,000 tons in 2009. The value of flower exports has risen from about 1billion Kenya shillings (Kshs) in 1990 to 7billion in 2000 to 16 billion Kshs in 2003 and to a record 36.7 billion Kshs in 2009.

In the agricultural sector, floriculture in Kenya is the second foreign exchange earner after tea bringing in more than 32 billion Kenya shillings per annum.
The sub sector has also recorded the highest growth in volume and value of cut flowers exported every year. It has had a growth rate of 14% annually in the last 15 years.

In addition, Kenya offers a favorable environment for investors and has a favorable climate for flower growing.

Moyon: Tell me about your code of practice

Mrs. Ngige: Our Code of Practice is fully benched marked to GlobalGAP and is under going a bench marking/mutual recognition with; Tescos Nature, FFP and FLP, MPS-SQ, MPS-Social, MPS-ABC and Rainforest Alliance. KFC is also an agent for Kenya Bureau of Standards KS-1758. As of today KFC Silver audit can confer KfC certificate and GlobalGap Flowers and Ornamentals certificate. Industry Self-regulation is administered through the KFC Code.  The Council Certification operates on two levels: Silver and Gold Certification Standards. Both KFC Codes of Practice detail the Standards that are required from its members.   Apart from yearly Certification audits, KFC also carries out unannounced audits on 10% of our member farms every year. KFC Code of Practice is reviewed at least every two years, to embrace changes of social, environmental, statutory and international requirements.

Moyon: There were stories all over about flowers draining the water of Lake Naivasha. Briefly discuss.

Mrs. Ngige: Kenya experienced one of the worst drought in 50 years in 2009 and most of the water bodies for example in Narok, L. Elementaita, L. Ol borosat, and also L. Nakuru which receded substantially dried up including the feeders of L. Naivasha. One need to understand that the problem from a more holistic perspective rather than L. Naivasha alone.

Nevertheless, farms have invested in high technology irrigation systems in order to use water more efficiently.

Moyon: How do you protect the environment?

Mrs. Ngige: This has always been our first priority as we implement the Code of Practice. It is well defined in our code of practice. Most of our farms have got wetlands where they treat their effluent, use of bio-control where predator insects are used to control pests in the farm and also reduction in chemical usage. All KFC members submit data on the amount of chemicals they uses every month to KFC for the purpose of monitoring use of chemicals in farms. They growers use chemicals certified by WHO. They grower do not use chemicals unless when they have to.

Moyon: Briefly tell me about corporate social responsibility and also employee’s welfare.

Mrs. Ngige: We value our employees as the most valuable component of the business. Their needs are also addressed through unions, workers committee or representatives. In terms of we abide by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) wages. Farms also provide house allowances/housing, medical insurance, infrastructure, community policing and transport.

The flower industry is always in the forefront in promoting the society for example they build schools, housing hospitals and provide transport for their employees. Some have got feeding programmes and hiring of teachers in schools.


EAC Common Market

The EAC Common Market Protocol was signed on 20th of November 2009 in Arusha by the five Heads of State. The Protocol seeks to facilitate the Four (4) Freedoms and Two (2) Rights as follows:

  • Free Movement of Goods;
  • Free Movement of Labour;
  • Free Movement of Services;
  • Free Movement of Capital across the five EAC Partner States;
  • The Right of Establishment; and
  • The Right of Residence.

The EAC Common Market Protocol was launched on 1st July, 2010.

Though the CMP was ratified on 30th April 2010, there are still outstanding issues which will have to be addressed from onset of its implementation. Key among these is harmonization of key legislations in all the Partner States. In this respect all five Partner States have set up Task Forces with a view to interpret the EAC Common Market Protocol and its Annexes in the context of their National Laws, with a view of undertaking a thorough audit and then recommending the necessary reforms to their respective Government departments/ institutions. The EAC coordinating ministries are also required to conduct sensitization workshops on the Protocol for both the implementers and stakeholders within their countries then within the region.

Signature of FEPA

The EAC/EC Framework for establishment of Economic Partnership Agreement (FEPA), which was slotted for signature on 9th June 2010 could not be signed. Instead, both parties agreed to proceed with the negotiation of comprehensive EPAs with a view to concluding the negotiations by November 2010. Through this process, the concerns that the EAC wanted addressed through the reopening of the FEPA will be addressed. These include: –

  • Placements of FEPA related texts that both the EAC and the EC have agreed upon in previous meetings
  • Contentious Articles 15 on export taxes and Article 16 – most favoured nations clause

Negotiations of comprehensive EPA

The comprehensive negotiations, besides addressing the above issues are expected to focus on the following issues, which remaining pending: –

a)      Finalization of development text and EAC matrix of priority projects

b)      Trade in services  ;

c)      Trade related issues namely :

  1. Competition policy;
  2. Investment and private sector development;
  3. Trade, environment and sustainable development;
  4. Intellectual property rights;
  5. Transparency in public procurement;

d)      Agriculture ;

As a result of the work done since the start of the negotiations of comprehensive EPA in March 2008, joint EAC/EC texts have been agreed in the following areas: –

  • Customs and trade facilitation
  • Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)
  • Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS)


Nine years since the Doha Round of Trade Negotiations (commonly known as the Doha Development Agenda,( DDA) was launched in Doha, Qatar, on the 14th November 2001, there are no signs yet of concluding the negotiations. During the 7th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Geneva from 30th November to 2nd December 2009, Trade Ministers from 154 WTO member countries directed that the DDA stocktaking be undertaken before the end of March 2010.

In line with the directive, the stocktaking exercise was accordingly undertaken in Geneva from 22-26 March 2010, attended by both the Geneva-based negotiators and capital-based senior officials from the entire 154 country membership.

The stocktaking exercise observed that though there had been substantial progress as reflected in draft modalities, a clear strategy was required to stabilize and integrate such progress as basis for further work.  There were however large gaps in terms of positions on the draft texts.  In his concluding remarks, the WTO Director General summed up the way forward based on deriving from the stocktaking exercise:

  1. Delegations agreed that Draft Modalities Texts be the basis for any further work necessary to conclude the Doha Round;
  2. All negotiations be driven by the Chairs-led process embracing the principles of Full participation, Inclusiveness and Transparency (FIT);
  3. The need for urgent commencement of Geneva-based process of narrowing and bridging the gaps, and to invite ministers’ participation only when the gaps have been substantially narrowed down to move the Round into its concluding phase.

Nutrient Management in Nursery and Floriculture

Soil Testing

Nutrient deficiency affects crop yields whether they are trees grown for timber, fruit trees, cereals, flowers or vegetables.

A shortage (or excess) of nutrients can cause serious reductions in crop growth, yield and the quality of the crop produced. Essential major nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulphur and calcium are required in relatively large quantities, whilst trace elements such as manganese, copper and boron are required in very small quantities. Many crops show large and very profitable responses to the correct use of lime and fertiliser in terms of both the yield and quality of the crop produced.

An important part of farming is providing plants with proper amounts of lime and essential nutrients. Soil testing can be used to indicate if additional nutrients are needed to achieve optimal yield.

Soil analysis is the most accurate guide to fertilizer and lime requirements. It is especially important to determine soil fertility and pH levels before planting a crop, so that the necessary lime and fertilizer can be applied to the soil.

Managing Soil pH

pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. Soil pH is very important because it affects the availability of nutrients to the plant. Most floriculture crops do not respond to fertilization when the pH is very low (extremely acid soils, pH less than 5.0) or very high (extremely alkaline soils, pH above 7.5).

Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and molybdenum are the nutrients that are most likely to be deficient under acid soil conditions. Test the soil to determine pH before planting and every 2-3 years to monitor changes. Soil pH can usually be modified to obtain a suitable pH.

Raising Soil pH

For acidic soils Lime application to raise soil pH is usually required. When the soil pH is not known, a soil test should be performed.

On extremely acidic soils, flowers and most crops will not respond to fertilization or other management factors. Agricultural grade limestone (calcium carbonate or CaCO3) is generally recommended to correct soil acidity.

NOTE that Lime should not be applied within 1 week of applying nitrogen fertilizer or manure. The high soil pH that occurs shortly after liming will increase the loss of ammonia.

Lime does not move through the soil, it must be incorporated.

Some soils limed heavily over a period of years may not require further applications. Some light-textured soils that have an adequate pH occasionally test very low in calcium, and therefore require lime. If calcium levels are low, gypsum or fertilizers such as calcium nitrate may also be used to supply calcium, rather than using lime. Gypsum (CaSO4) is not a liming agent. It will not increase soil pH, and under certain conditions it is used to lower soil pH. The use of some dolomitic limestone is recommended since it contains a significant quantity of magnesium, an essential and often deficient plant nutrient.

The positive effects of lime application include:

• reduce soil acidity,

• improve the physical condition of the soil,

• provide calcium and magnesium (if dolomitic limestone is used),

• favour bacterial action and, thereby, hasten the decomposition of organic matter and the release of nitrogen,

• improve conditions for availability of other nutrients, notably phosphorus and some minor elements, and

• reduce the toxicity of some elements such as manganese and aluminium.

Growers need to be careful when applying lime. If applied at too high a rate (above 5 tonnes per ha), lime may tie up some micronutrients (e.g. boron) or cause nutrient imbalances. Lime application may aggravate magnesium deficiencies, especially in sandy soil. Where this is a problem, some dolomitic lime should be used. Liming can also increase the rate of organic matter depletion and encourage the germination of some weeds. Lime should always be used in conjunction with a planned soil testing and fertilizer program.

Lowering Soil pH

Sometimes it is advantageous to lower or acidify the soil pH. Alkaline mineral soils may need to be acidified for crop production.

The principal materials used to lower soil ph are elemental sulphur, sulphuric acid, aluminum sulphate and iron sulphate (ferrous sulphate). Ammonium sulphate, ammonium phosphate and other ammonium containing fertilizers are also quite effective when the soil receives sufficient water, though they are primarily sources of plant nutrients.

Soluble Salts in Soil

Elevated salt levels in soil will interfere with water uptake and eventually plant growth. The effects range from delayed or non-germination of seed to death of new transplants and serious reduction in growth of new or established plants. The problem with soluble salts is most severe when soil moisture is low and salt concentration is high.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.