April Issue 2 2013

IFTEX 2013 media briefing

The Kenya International Flower Trade Expo (IFTEX)  is scheduled to take place on June 5th -7th  2013 at the Oshwal Centre in Nairobi.  .  During a media briefing on 11th April 2013 at the Jacaranda Hotel, Nairobi the organizers of the show HPP exhibitions who are also associate members of the Kenya Flower Council, under the able leadership of Dick van Raamsdonk said about 250 companied have already registered their participation.

The show attracts buyers from different countries who are able to meet with the Kenyan growers one on one.  This will be the 2nd show in Kenya after a successful one held in March 2012.

Also present was the Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA) managing director Dr. Alfred Serem who said the South Korea and Japan market are new and are expected to account for between 5 and 10 per cent of the flower exports. Fortunately, Kenya enjoys the availability of a direct flight from Nairobi to South Korea.

Also present was the Kenya Flower Council chief executive Officer Mrs.  Jane Ngige.

 

Lake Naivasha water levels

Due to the heavy rains being experienced in the country the Lake Naivasha Water levels have risen by 22 centimeters in the past few weeks. Farms around the lake have been submerged especially those on the riparian land.

Flower farmer s are now harvesting water from the greenhouses and reserving more in their dams. On the other hand diseases like Botrytis, Downy mildew are on the rises leading to crop loss and increased costs especially because they now have to buy more chemicals.

In terms of Infrastructure some roads has become impassable in different parts of the country with bridges being destroyed for example along Nairobi Naivasha highway opting the growers to use alternative routes hence more fuel. There is also power outage in some areas due to the destruction of power lines caused by the heavy rains.

 

KQ launch a cargo Freighter

Kenya Airways has for the first time launched the first cargo freighter to facilitate trade between Kenya and the African countries. Speaking at the launch, the KQ Chief Executive, Dr. Titus Naikuni said the step was demand driven as many Kenyans had been barred from trade due to inadequate cargo space of transport for their produce.

However, the freight will be to African countries among the Juba, Kinshasa, and Bujumbura among others. The next cargo freighter will be arriving in the country in the month of June/July. This comes in handy following the speech of his Excellency the president Uhuru Kenyatta on enhancement of regional trade.

The freight has a capacity of 160, 000 tonnes which will in a big way facilitate trade and ease logistic issues. More cargo freighters will be availed to Kenyan traders although they will be demand driven as well as from the success story of the two already approved.

 

Direct delivery of flowers from Nairobi to Moscow made possible

OJSC Company, AVIA-Invest, one of the group of companies forming the Vnukovo Airport holding and a General Agent of the Turkish Airlines in Russia are working together with them on the projects for direct deliveries of goods from around the world to Moscow, using the extensive worldwide  network of Turkish Airlines flights.

Currently the Vnukovo airport is the main base of operations for Turkish Airlines in Russia.

They have put in place arrangements for direct delivery of flowers from Nairobi to Moscow through Istanbul and also fast customs clearance of flowers in Vnukovo Airport.

So far they have an agreement on airfreight prices, an agent in Nairobi and a reservation for 5-6 tons cargo with the Turkish Airlines freight flight from Nairobi to Istanbul on Tuesdays. Delivery to Moscow will be done in cargo holds of passenger flights.

This means that the flowers loaded on Tuesday in Nairobi arrive at Istanbul, on Wednesday night and fly onward to Moscow on a an early Wednesday flight. The follow up on the customs clearance in Moscow and can transfer the flowers (already cleared through customs) to a client on Wednesday evening.

If necessary they can also forward the flowers to any city in Russia.

The World Environment Day Celebrations

The World environment Day (WED) will be marked on 5th June 2013 as per global calendar of environment events. According to UNEP, the theme to guide the WED 2013 celebrations will be ; “Think, Eat, Save – Reduce your Footprint”.  The theme focuses on waste and loss of food and modalities of mitigating the same.  The preparatory meetings on the celebrations are going on at the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) headquarters where the Kenya Flower Council is participating.

NEMA will take this opportunity to identify food wastage and losses in various stages including, food production, storage, distribution and value addition in order to enhance quality, durability and be able to attract higher economic returns for the farmers.

The Authority will also use the WED 2013 celebrations to create awareness to farmers and general public to embrace new technologies and strategies in order to mitigate causes of food wastage and losses.

Prior to the celebrations, there will be a Mazingira Run & Food EXPO on 19th May 2013 at Uhuru Park.  All institutions pledged to take part in the build-up event and Food EXPO. The costs associated with the preparations and participation of the Mazingira Run & Food EXPO will be borne by the respective institutions.

 

Finlays and REWE together in water project

Finlays Horticulture Kenya is involved in an innovative project to create plastic floating islands containing papyrus plants to help protect the ecosystems of Lake Naivasha in the Rift Valley, Kenya.

Finlays customer and German retailer, REWE, is funding the papyrus restoration partnership between Finlays and Dr David Harper, a senior lecturer at the University of Leicester, which aims to recreate the water-cleansing services of papyrus as artificial floating islands.

As well as having many commercial uses, papyrus is a most valuable natural filter for dirty water. A common plant of tropical wetlands, it is capable of acting like a sewage treatment works all on its own.

The restoration project at Lake Naivasha entails papyrus being planted in islands made of recycled post-consumer plastics, such as bottled water containers, made by a new company called “Floating Islands International” (FII).

The islands that have just been ordered from FII will be anchored once the papyrus has been planted, in the mouth of the main river, the Malewa, to trap silt before it reaches the lake. The roots of papyrus islands also act as important fish nurseries and feeding grounds, whilst their 5-metre tall stems hold a rich biodiversity of birds such as warblers and kingfishers. Thus the project is beneficial to both people and nature.

Papyrus originally inhabited the whole perimeter of the lake and acted as a physical filter for surface run off, and added additional value to remove nutrients. In the last few years, much of the papyrus has been removed to gain access for the lake for tourism and it is being overgrazed by buffalo and domestic cattle belonging to pastoralists. The young shoots get rapidly consumed and hinder the natural regeneration as the lake level varies through the riparian zone. So the idea of anchoring papyrus islands offshore would make them less vulnerable to bovines and encourage regeneration.

Dr Harper said: “Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake of around 100 km2, and although once crystal clear and surrounded by papyrus, it has suffered in the past 30 years. A major factor is that Naivasha has been the fastest growing town in Kenya as a result of the bonanza of horticulture, cut flowers for export, which is now one of Kenya’s top three earners of foreign exchange.

As job opportunities have grown, the human population has grown more than twenty-fold, and settlements have sprung up in a haphazard fashion, clearing papyrus. In the same 30 year period, the population of buffalo native to the lake has trebled, knocking down the papyrus to eat it.

Major flower growers are well aware of their responsibilities to the fragile environment of Lake Naivasha, and their reputation amongst consumers in Europe. Finlays, a major UK-owned tea producer and flower grower, has turned their concern into reality by growing papyrus from cut culms (pieces) in their own artificial wetlands treating waste from their processes, such as workers canteens and laundry.

Finlays also has Fairtrade status, and major European retailers, such as REWE, only buy Fairtrade flowers. However, Fairtrade does not require that farmers show a concern for the ecosystem from which the raw material for their product comes outside their own gates. Although the new Kenyan Water Act requires that they pay for this valuable “ecosystem service” – clean water – this does not directly pay for ecosystem restoration.”

The scale of the project depends very much on the pilot work being undertaken. We are also looking at the possibility of anchoring “natural” islands that detach themselves from the shore with wind and lake level changes. Some of these are quite large and could be used to fast track for example papyrus farming. However the artificial islands will still be important to reinstate areas that have been destroyed. Interestingly the floating islands also provide a refuge for fish breeding and this could encourage an industry that is at present in need of better control and increased stocks.

Source: Finlays > Hortibiz

 

 

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