H.E MARGARET KENYATTA TAKES IFTEX 2015 TO THE PEAK

The 4th edition of the International Flower Trade Expo (2015) came to a close today.  The colorful event, held at Oshwal centre from Wednesday 3rd June, 2015, was graced by H.E Margaret Kenyatta, Kenya’s First Lady. Other dignitaries included the Japan Ambassador to Kenya H.E. Tastsushi Terada, the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands Ambassador to Kenya H.E Joost Reintjes, the Chairman of the Kenya Flower Council (KFC) Mr. Richard Fox, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Ms. Sicliy Kariuki, the Chair of Kenya Private Sector Alliance Ambassador Dennis Awori, heads of several parastatal organizations and the KFC Board of Directors.

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Kenya’s First Lady-in yellow-arrives at the Oshwal Centre for the opening ceremony of IFTEX 2015. Photo by Johnstone Mulary\KFC

The highlight of the opening ceremony was the launch of Lady Margaret variety named after H.E Margaret Kenyatta.  The variety was bred by Van Kleef, an international breeding company with an office in Naivasha, Kenya.

The goal of the show was to provide a platform for exhibitors to find new customers in order to increase sales and strengthen business relationships with existing customers.  Exhibitors included large and small scale growers, breeders, propagators, consolidators, suppliers and other flower industry stakeholders.

Speaking during the event Kenya’s First Lady appreciated the role that the floriculture industry plays in Kenya’s economy and especially its contribution to women empowerment.  She then presented trophies to the winners of the various categories of exhibitors who included small scale farmers and florists from Kenya.

KFC’s Chair Mr Richard Fox said that the floriculture industry does business sustainably- looking after the environment and meeting its socio-economic responsibility.  He noted that the industry raked in KES 54.6 billion last year.  That it employs over 100, 000 people directly most of them women, approximately 500,000 people indirectly and providing livelihoods to at least 2 million people. He appreciated the Government’s efforts through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to promote Kenya’s flower trade around the World. He cited the challenges facing the sector following the onset of the devolved system of Government and called for speedy resolutions of the same.

On his part the Japanese Ambassador noted that Kenya is the largest exporter of cut flowers to Japan.  He said that consumption of flowers in Japan is still low and urged the Japanese men to change their mindset and accelerate the consumption of flowers as is happening in Kenya.  He noted that flowers have a therapeutic effect and helps people to relax amidst stress.

H.E Joost Reintjes observed lauded the vibrant trade relation between Kenya and Holland noting that most of the flowers going to Europe land in Holland before dispatch to other destinations.  He invited the First Lady to Holland to see the biggest flower Market and while there to participate in the Dutch Marathon.

The International Flower Trade Expo is number one in Africa and ranks among the top 3 flower shows in the World.  It attracted close to 200 companies that exhibited their products and more than 3, 500 national and international trade visitors (flower growers and buyers).

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