Featured Articles March - April 2022

Intercontinental ocean shipping of agricultural products is considered more carbon and cost efficient and may provide more flexibility compared to air freight. The Kenyan government is actively supporting sea freight so that Kenya remains competitive in the global market. Although sea transport is already common practice for some Kenyan fruit (avocado, pineapple), for flower export, this option is still poorly explored.

Kenya exports a significant amount of products to the Netherlands, most of which are related to agriculture. Globally the main mode of transport for trade is ocean shipping, this is however not the case for Kenya. Most of it is transported by air as this is a quicker form of transportation. For agricultural products with a short shelf life such as flowers, fruits and vegetables this is especially important. In 2020 however, COVID-19 exposed the limitations of airfreight in Kenya. Passenger flights carry freight in the belly of the plane and due to a high number of flights being cancelled there was a huge shortfall of airfreight capacity. By increasing maritime shipping, Kenya can provide an alternative way of transporting goods, decrease costs and reduce its environmental footprint.

By Mary Mwende Mbithi

South Africa’s founding father, Nelson Mandela, once said, ‘Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead…’ and indeed Porini Premium Flowers has every reason to celebrate as they mark a Decade since the start of operations!

The Inception
Ten years ago, in the peripheral region of Olenguruone, Molo in Nakuru County, what began as a noble idea was ultimately propelled into a reality. The inception of Porini Premium Flowers was a beautiful milestone for the founders of Isinya Roses Ltd, which by then was ten years old having started in the year 2001.

Porini, a Swahili word that means ‘wild,’ became the little sister to Isinya roses. And just like the wild flowers, ‘You must allow yourself to grow in all places people thought you never would;’ Porini Premium Flowers has continued to bloom in all aspects, bringing a new face to the flower industry. Last year, Porini turned a decade old, her sister farm Isinya Roses turned two decades old.

Ruth Vaughan

Plant nutrition is the study of the chemical elements and compounds necessary for plant growth, plant metabolism and their external supply. Without proper plant nutrition, plants tend to die off or produce little or no yield.

In my line of work I visit hundreds of flower farms a year; the flourishing, the ticking over, and the ones in dire straits. A lot of my more demanding work is dealing with farms that suddenly run into problems. “Ruth, please come and visit our farm as soon as possible, our production has suddenly dropped to half” is a common call. My advice to flower farmers on the critical issues in plant nutrition in floriculture would be as follows:-

Start with the Basics
Start with the basics, understand your soil and water and know what you are dealing with. A solid ‘risk’ assessment before you even buy the farm is recommended.

Pesticide resistance can become a problem when the same chemicals are used over and over to control a particular pest. After a period, the pest may develop resistance to a chemical so that the chemical no longer effectively controls the pest at the same rate, and higher rates and more frequent applications become necessary until eventually the chemical provides little or no control.

The best way to manage pesticide resistance is to focus on three strategies: avoid, delay, and reversal. Avoid the development of pesticide resistance problems with the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs, which reduce reliance on chemical control. Delay resistance by using pesticides only when needed, as indicated by monitoring, and when pests are at a susceptible stage.

Powdery Mildew

Experts in the fields of plant pathology, entomology, cultivation, climate, and technology work together with entrepreneurs and scientists from a range of fields. This collaborative approach combines innovations with the latest scientific knowledge and important and relevant questions from the professional field.

Healthy substrate and soil
A healthy substrate or soil is an important starting point for any healthy horticultural crop. Therefore, sustainable adaptations and cultivation techniques are important to create resilient cultivation systems. In resilient cultivation systems, more emphasis is put on preventing diseases as opposed to treating outbreaks. To achieve better disease prevention, a multi-disciplinary approach is needed. This requires optimal physical, chemical and biological characteristics in the rhizosphere and rooting environment so that better growth and higher resilience of the plant, as well as the control of pathogens, can be achieved.

By Jack Wekesa

Jack Wekesa is the Commercial Agronomist, Nairobi Metropolis Area, Amiran Kenya Limited You can reach him on Cell Contact: +254724350218, Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nematodes which are typically most abundant in upper soil layers where organic matter, plant roots and other resources are most abundant can be very devastating to the farmer. Some species can damage plant roots, stems, foliage and flowers by puncturing the cell walls using their sharply pointed mouths. It is estimated in flowers that 5 % of the Pesticides budget is for nematodes control.