Stakeholders in the flower industry have been urged to step up efforts to embrace good agricultural practices in the industry if they wish to continue enjoying preferential access to European Markets.
Speaking during a tour of Finlay’s Flamingo farm the European Union Head of Delegation, H.E Lodewijk Briet said, Kenya is an important trade partner of the EU. However, it faces competition from other countries such as Ecuador and Ethiopia. Apart from ratifying the EPA Kenya must strive to ease unnecessary constraints such as transport and reduction in the use of pesticides.
The Chairman of the Kenya Flower Council, Mr. Richard Fox said, the industry constantly receives notifications from the EU on what interceptions to put in place to ensure sustained market access to the EU.
“We work closely with KEPHIS on phytosanitary issues and are aware of the need to use synthetic pesticides and use of natural systems as you saw on the farm. These will address the maximum residue level (MRL) issue which the EU is so much concerned about. We have to develop brand Kenya as a best quality sustainable flower products country.” He added.
The Kenya Flower Council is spearheading efforts to achieve nationwide compliance by flower growers with the aim of sustaining access to the EU market and promoting brand Kenya.
On changes in Government structure, Mr. Fox said that the industry is working closely with County governments to create a conducive environment for flower famers and create jobs. He gave Nakuru and Kiambu Counties as examples of where public private partnership has worked very well for the benefit of stakeholders.
“We have a very good working relationship with County governments. We have received enormous support from them in terms of cess. We are looking at ventures that will create job opportunities in these counties through recycling green waste. The horticulture industry has potential to generate more revenue and more employment and we are working with County governments, particularly Nakuru and Kiambu to achieve this.
Other dignitaries at the function were representatives from the British and Netherlands Embassies in Kenya, Officials from the Nakuru County Governor’s office, HCDA and the Export Promotion Council.
The major market for Kenya’s flowers is Europe where Kenya has a market share of over 30% of flower imports, most of which are transshipped through Holland. Other destinations include the UK, Japan and the USA.