To support the Kenya Flower Industry in assuring sustained access to international markets, Kenya Flower Council (KFC) held two successful meetings in the United Kingdom and in the Netherlands on 1st and 6th November 2014 respectively.
The meetings focused on Kenya flower market sustainability and market access through a national mechanism for industry-wide compliance. Europe is a major destination for Kenyan flowers with a market share of over 35% and most of which are transhipped through Holland. The meetings offered a platform for the Kenya Industry to share ongoing sustainability initiatives with their international partners with an aim of strengthening market access and trade.
Kenyan embassies both in the UK and the Netherlands played a big role in mobilizing partners in their respective location in effort to strengthen international trade which is now a key mandate under the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs.
The NMC project was presented with a background on Kenya flower industry as a major foreign exchange earner contributing about 1.3% (46.3 billion) of the GDP and impacting about 2 million livehoods. However, despite a myriad of both public and private tools governing regulation of the industry in the realm of labour standards and use, protection and stewardship of natural resources, it is clear from consistent reports and concerns raised in the public space, that more work on the robustness and thorough implementation of the regulatory systems needs to take root.
All efforts to make compliance more inclusive and to bring on board all exporters must be harnessed by both the private sector as well as the regulatory arms of Government. Various activities have been undertaken to achieve this objective this includes; all industry players (private and public) to review, develop and implement an effective and efficient, industry-wide compliance programme that involves breeders, propagators, growers, consolidators and shippers’. This was facilitated through the review of the present National Code of Practice KS 1758:2004 with specific reverence to flowers and ornamentals. Further, the review provided a platform to expand the scope to ensure all players in the floriculture supply chain are covered. Alongside the review, a national mechanism structure and system developed to guide on the institutionalization, governance and operation of NMC at the national and country levels to achieve a reliable, consistent and cost effective quality assurance scheme. Other activities include development of a communication strategy for the flower industry as well as development of a sustainability plan for NMC.
The implementation of NMC will promote; responsible growing of flower in Kenya, environment stewardship and social responsibility by all players in the value chain, offering a common ground for all players as well as branding Kenya flowers as responsibly grown at a national level.
The Netherlands meeting happened during the International Flower Trade Fair (IFTF) at Vuijfhuizen while the UK meeting happened under the aegis of Union Fleurs where KFC is a member. The meeting brought together participants from flowers associations and buyers from all parts of the world which included; Russia, turkey, Israel, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands, united states of America, Ethiopia and Kenya.