Inarguable, The International Floriculture Trade Expo(IFTEX) is already the next big thing in the history of fresh-cut flowers. It’s so far the biggest Expo on fresh cut flowers in Africa and the third in the world. Its reach and influence continues to grow day by day with it’s Nairobi edition having over 40 participating countries.
Founded by the HPP president, Mr. Dick Van Raamsdonk, the show involves both the buyers, growers, suppliers, brokers, propagators and exporters.
Launched in year 2014, the platform aims in promoting the interaction among the involved parties for an extra ordinary trade fair, offering an opportunity for all to interact under one roof.
This also allows buyers overseas come face to face with growers in the countries the flowers are produced. Through the interaction, they are able to consider and reconsider what is good for them. Interacting for the benefit of both.
Read about IFTEX 2016 here.
Kenya is the leading exporter of fresh cut flowers in Africa, hence no surprise why the exhibition always finds its way here. Statistics show, For every three roses sold in the European Market, One of them comes from Kenya. We no doubt take much pride in this.
Kenya is also the main exporter of roses in other Countries such as Japan. The Japanese people truly Love Our roses.
This follows the business and agricultural friendly environment created by our Government in the Horticultural Industry. Government incentives includes the provision of investors with an enlarged and ready facilitated market for their products. The expansive road network, all over the country allows ease of conducting the horticulture business in any part of our country.
The climate perfectly suits the growth of flowers in this country. Having both temperate and tropic climatic conditions and the good soils, present, always ensures we are always guaranteed of the best quality roses in the region.
The availability of large volumes of both skilled, and unskilled labor force makes it easier conducting flower business in the country Kenya. Continuous support from the Kenyan Government through provision of Loans, to both Small scale and large scale growers perfectly makes it the best country to Invest in the Flower growing.
This was vividly supported by the wide participating Kenyan Growers in the annual International Floriculture Trade Expo(IFTEX).
As a florist, I also fully support this. The ease of provision of operation Licenses, quick and low interest loans from the government goes a long way in promoting this industry.
This great variables(soils, climate, people) contribute immensely to the high standards in our flower industry and the great products that we do offer. Kenyan roses are renowned worldwide.
In-return, the flower sector greatly contributes to the growth of our country, contributing to 11% of the country’s GDP. The growth in the demand for the products is currently placed at an increasing rate. 3% p.a. Kenyan growers have high hope of reaching even more markets.
The industry employs a huge number of Kenyans. Recent statistics places the total number of people directly employed by the flower Industry at 4.5 million. I believe the figure is even bigger..
In the year 2012, the horticulture industry, earned a total of USD 509 Million. 50% of this was from flowers. The market continues to grow and bloom each passing day.
This however tags along with various challenges and limitations faced by the growers. The main one being The Economic partnership Agreements. The Agreements define the terms of business in the industry. Growers are so keen on them as they define the future of the flower industry in Kenya. Delayed signing of the agreements, as was on 2015, causes high anxiety and unsurety among the farmers. This at times greatly affects the production and prior planning which are crucial among the growers in Kenya. Worrying is not healthy for anyone.Not even for the flower growers.
The devolved government, established under the new Constitution of Kenya, greatly acts as a challenge to the Kenyan growers. This however seems short term with with hopes of improvement of the institutions in the future. The enactment of devolution means additional costs of running the new systems, which are hence burdened to the growers. The newly-established system also fails to give out well defined roles of each of their participating organs, in terms of who to do what, where.
To be able to maintain a competitive business market, there is need to ensure that no new levies are imposed by both the county and the National Governments.
Growers also wish that some of the taxes(which don’t make sense) may be scraped off and done away with.
Fluctuation of the currency also affect the profit margins of the growers. To effectively conduct their business, there is need in stabilization of the currency.
The Trade expo on 2015, brought together over 140 different exhibitors placing itself as the third largest fresh cut expo in the world. Its growth continuing to be felt everywhere in the world.
Various participating member countries came out strongly to showcase what they best offer. This ranged from growers from different countries like Ethiopia and South Africa, where the industry is catching up with the best in the field as a very exciting pace. Put the region at a competitive edge.
Different suppliers from all over the world were there too. Their heavy presence clearly defined Kenya as an outstanding leader in fresh cut produce.
They included: The black tulip group, Flora Holland, Suera Roses, Prima Rosa, Sunland Roses, Mosi Flowers, Fontana and many more.
The quality of the products on display had everyone staring. Backed up by world class exhibiting standards provided by the organizers, hpp exhibitions-The Organizing body behind International Floriculture Trade Expo(IFTEX). I found myself going round and round the hall in two consecutive days. who doesn’t want to be strolling near beautiful Flowers?
Among the conspicuous flower stand present was one by the Flower Vendor association-Kenya. The all RED leaders represent a bigger majority in fighting for rights of Local Vendors in Nairobi. Their beautiful display of Various flower arrangement welcomed one from a distance.
We had a lot to share them. Among the many, was the local market share of the flower produce. This caught me by surprise to realize that Kenya only consumes Barely 2% of the total flowers grown in the country. This is however growing day by day with an estimated rate of 6% per annum. The low consumption rate among local Kenyans is often contributed by lack of well set up incentives by the association to promote the use of the flowers in Various occasions and events including, birthdays, weddings, offices, funerals, anniversaries and all other occasions where flowers are quite important. This is however changing fast as more and more Kenyans are starting to have more appreciation of flowers in every occasion and event. On Birthdays, anniversaries, memorials, weddings, hospital visits, funerals and even on other events.
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The local growers also complained at most times the flower growers export typically everything leaving barely nothing for local consumption. This was however met with hostility by the growers themselves who tend to ignore the local market due to its low price which are not in any way comparable with their international flower buyers.They held to the fact that all that matters at the end of the day is the business terms. Meaning final monetary returns. Not where or whom you sell the products to. Various growers however mentioned that, increase in Local consumption would be much important to the growers as it will help them reduce huge chunks of money spent on Shipping and on running logistics in getting the flowers to The international Markets. This would only be possible if the locals agree to match their prices with their international counterparts.
The actions and decisions of this associations are overseen by an organization known as Kenya Flower Council(KFC). It acts as a bridge between the vendors and the flowers.
Established in 1996, the voluntary association aims in promoting responsible and safe production of cut flowers in kenya in regards to the welfare of the people and protection of our precious environment.
Kenya belongs to top three of the main flower exporters in the world.
Among the major growers of roses here, is Sian Roses.
Founded in 1995, the company is spearheaded by its Managing Director Mr. Jos Van Der Venne. The company exports 150 million roses per year with 100 tonnes exported each week. the company exports all its flowers. 40% of this ends up in the dutch flower auction with the other 60% ending up in different countries. On the 54 Billion industry, Sian Roses employs a total of 2000 employees which contributes largely on the growth of the Kenyan flower industry by promoting the Kenyan people.
Their successive business in effective growth of the roses in contributed adversely by the favorable climatic conditions in the country in which they operate. The adequate rainfall and sunshine providing the best growth condition for the roses.
The company is looking into different ways to change how it gets its beautiful flowers into the international market by replacing the air freight with moving their products across the sea. This is however on its trial period and expected to save the industry millions incurred through the current air-freight upon its use.
This will also go a long way in reducing the large carbon footprint accumulated by use of air. According to its managing director.
Among the challenges facing the market is lack of direct flights to The United States. Having this would mean access to the markets there, and hence ability to place the Kenyan roses in a position to be able to compete with other roses from other countries.
Sian Roses continues to be a market leader in the growth and exportation of flowers in Kenya.
As the market continues to bloom with more growers, Sian roses never sees them as competitors. They always see them as their partners in helping them place the Kenyan Rose High On The International Map.