The International Flower Trade Expo (IFTEX) now enters its third year in Nairobi, Kenya, with high expectations on both quality and quantity from the organizers, exhibitors and visitors. The show, which debuted in March 2012, is quickly developing a magnetic pull for the flower industry fraternity not only in Africa but the world over.
Speaking to journalists in Nairobi yesterday (February 26, 2014) IFTEX organizer Dick Van Raamsdonk was positive that the show would soon become a global leader if the enthusiasm and interest the exhibitors and buyers have displayed in the past two years is anything to go by.
“Together with the expected internationalization, this event will soon become a regional flower trade fair not only for Kenyan flower growers, but for growers from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Ethiopia and other African flower producing countries,” said van Raamsdonk.
The show is expected to meet the international participation goal by the time it hits five years in Nairobi in 2016, easily becoming the second or third largest show in the world, Van Raamsdonk predicts.
Kenya Flower Council chief executive officer Jane Ngige said IFTEX has grown into a Kenya flowers brand, strengthening the country’s position as a leader in global markets, while enhancing the image of Nairobi as the home from where 40 per cent of the flowers sold in Europe originate. “IFTEX has come at the right time for the Kenya flower industry since we are now in the process of market consolidation and retention by positioning our flowers as responsibly grown, and that picture can only be seen at a show in the country”, she said.
The Horticultural Crops Development Authority acting managing director Grace Kyalo said Kenya has been going abroad to participate in international flower shows, and it is a big achievement to see the world coming to the country to see the flowers where they are grown.
She adds that to attract more buyers to participate in the show, the organizers are especially promoting the event heavily in the USA, Japan, Russia and the Middle East. However, buyers are also expected to stream in from all major flower consuming nations and continents, such as Europe, South East and even from Africa itself.
The 2014 event is set to be held starting Wednesday June 4 – 6 at its traditional venue, Oshwal Centre, Westlands, Nairobi. Due to the great interest of existing exhibitors to participate again, and the invitation to flower growers from surrounding countries to exhibit, IFTEX has an extended exhibition space with an additional two halls amounting to 4,000 m². This brings the total exhibition area to almost 10,000 m².
Van Raamsdonk said that in the two initial editions that IFTEX has featured in Kenya it has made significant strides destined to make it the biggest flower show on the African Continent and among the best across the globe.
“It is becoming globally known that Nairobi has a marvelous flower show. The first and second shows were successful as per our expectations and we trust this will continue as more buyers and growers are roped in,” he says.
Today, he adds, IFTEX Kenya is ranked among the best flower shows in the world competing with giants such as Ecuador, Holland, Colombia and Russia which have been around for much longer.
He is calling on all flower growers in Kenya and beyond who have not booked stands to do so. Growers are getting the space to showcase their products free of charge.
“The growers were skeptical at first when we introduced the show because they are used to taking flowers to buyers, not the other way round, but they have gradually warmed up after seeing the buyers come to Nairobi,” said Van Raamsdonk. This fact saw the second edition of the show exhibitors and visitors base grow by between 20 and 30 percent respectively, he adds. “IFTEX is a buyers’ show therefore, growers should come and display their products”, he said. The show brings together flower buyers, growers, breeders, and suppliers of inputs and services across the industry value chain.