For the 8th year in a row, Kenya hosted the International Flower Trade Expo (IFTEX) at the Oshwal Centre, Parklands Nairobi.
IFTEX which was launched in 2012 has grown tremendously to be a renowned exhibition brand worldwide. Currently it attracts more than 250 both national and international exhibitors ranging from; growers, buyers, breeders, suppliers, regulatory and compliance institutions and logistics. Over time IFTEX has contributed to promotion of Kenyan cut flowers which its demand continues to rise in world market. This action has enabled the Kenyan flowers to compete well with other giants like Ecuador, Colombia and also Ethiopia who are coming up well.
This year’s IFTEX show kicked off on 5th June 2019 with the chairman of HPP international exhibition group inviting exhibitors, buyers and all other participants to the event; “it is with great pleasure to welcome you the 8th edition of Kenya’s trade fair for the floriculture industry, it is without doubt the most important international trade fair for fresh flower trade” said Dick Van Raamsdonk.
The growth of IFTEX over the years has been boosted by its unique approach of reversing the culture of exhibitions across the globe. IFTEX brings buyers and growers under one roof, which makes it so special. “It is a place where you meet buyers and growers together, it is a business platform, international buyers source flowers directly from the Kenyan growers, this makes IFTEX so different “reiterated Dick Van Raamsdonk.
The show welcomed exhibitors from Zimbabwe, Ecuador and Ethiopia who were exhibiting for the first time. Principal Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture Dr. Chris Kiptoo has grown fond of the exhibition as he was the chief guest for the official opening of this year’s show.
Dr. Chris Kiptoo noted milestones achieved by the flower sector the past few years in terms of revenue and employment opportunities to our nation and he attributed this to continuous commitments by the ministry, kephis, Kenya flower council, Kenya Bureau of Standards, pest control board and other stakeholders who work tirelessly to uphold compliance of our Kenyan cut flowers to both local and international standards. “Europe remains our main market which accounts for 70% of earnings and we are working to permanently secure this market through enhancing exhaustive compliance to avoid any trade barriers even as we commit to pursuing other markets” asserted Dr.Chris Kiptoo. He went further to assure growers that they are working closely with the UK to formulate a neutral ground in order to mitigate the risks of Brexit, securing of Japan, China, Turkey, USA and Canada markets which require much deliberations on issues of compliance and trade tariffs. “We are aware of these challenges and we are following these issues closely to ensure that we increase market access to grow the flower sector and increase revenue” Promised Dr. Chris Kiptoo.
IFTEX has become a brand, a business platform and a form of medium where Kenyan flowers gets show cased to the world. The show contributes immensely to the industry and for this IFTEX continues to be a preferred exhibition for every Kenyan grower. This year’s show came at a time when Kenyan growers are battling and feeling the pinch of escalating costs of inputs, freights charges and decline or market prices stagnating. Amid all these, the show took place at a time Kenyan growers needed it to learn the best ways to innovate on cutting costs, expansion of markets and promotion of the Kenyan flowers.
IFTEX has come a long way and we must pause for a moment and appreciate what the show has done to the sector consistently for the past 8 years. We have created networks, promoted our flowers, made deals and expanded our market reach through the show. However, it is easier said than done, as an exhibitor design a holistic strategy to guide you through the show and after the show to ensure you get the best out of the event. Until next year, let’s keep on growing and producing quality flowers sustainably while being mindful of our environment both physically and socially.