Featured Articles Sept - Oct 2017
Horti Fair Promotes Knowledge Exchange in Horticultural Industry

Horticulture is a significant ‘manufacturing’ industry. But where would horticulture be without knowledge exchange? This rhetorical question is the starting point for the Naivasha Horticultural Fair, which was initiated fifteen years ago. The knowledge from these exchanges has been of help to many businesses.

Horti Fair is one of the biggest regional trade fairs for Technology, Innovation and Inspiration in Horticulture. Horti Fair starts where the chain starts: plant breeding, greenhouse technology and cultivation technique. In addition, the Horti Fair showcases the solutions that horticulture offers for global challenges relating to water, food, clean energy and well-being.

Sodium Strategies

In Africa, and especially in Kenya, sodium is one of the major causes of yield losses, quality reduction and crop failure in irrigated agriculture. Writes Ruth Vaughan.

Soils with a high percentage of sodium in the soil are called sodic soils. Sodic soils negatively impact plant growth for several reasons:


  1. Specific ion toxicity to sodium sensitive plants.
  2. Nutrient deficiencies or imbalances in the plants.
  3. High soil pH – resulting in lock up of phosphates, iron and other micronutrients.
  4. Dispersion of clay and silt particles in the soil – collapsing the soil structure and blocking soil pores.
Flower Growing in Naivasha A Boom or Doom

Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake in the Kenyan Rift Valley. It is unique in that it is home to both an internationally renowned environmental treasure as well as a blossoming agriculture industry that exports high value fresh vegetables and cut flowers to European and English markets.

The Lake is currently under intensive scrutiny over concerns about how its environmental integrity can be maintained whilst still supporting a valuable and growing economy and society. Agricultural activity in the basin has expanded dramatically in terms of both the rural smallholder farmers in the upper catchment and the high value exported commercial horticulture around the Lake and this sector anchors a local economy that supports almost 650 000 people.

The two most valuable crops in the Naivasha basin are cut flowers and vegetables. The vegetables grown in Lake Naivasha contribute approximately KSh6.65 billion ($95 million) to the Kenyan economy. Whilst predominantly focused on producing for the local market, smallholders are increasingly able to access high value export markets through their association as “out growers” with the commercial vegetable farms.

Water Footprint : A New Paradigm For Our Fresh Water Future

To solve the freshwater problem we must first understand how much water is actually available, how much we use, to what purpose, using what system, in what condition, and with what realistic capacity given rapid climate change and its visible and continuing catastrophic effect.

By Peter Neil
To solve the fresh water problem we must first understand how much water is available and how it is being used.

The new water paradigm should begin not at the top of the user pyramid, but at the bottom. It needs a better calculation of our own water footprint, a measure of the amount used to produce each of the goods and services we use, directly and indirectly, including “virtual” water and externalities. There is an excellent online tool to help us understand this process—the Water Footprint Network , founded in the Netherlands by Professor Arjen Hoekstra, and intended to assist individuals, companies, municipalities, and governments with water assessments, to design stewardship plans, and to offer training for new methodologies and project implementation under this new aquacentric approach.

Kordes Rose Set to Unveil a Top Range of White Premium Varieties

Rose growers from across the East African region are naturally clamoring for new interesting varieties to include in their production lines. Kordes Roses’ new white codes have drawn a lot of interest from growers. Most have visited their show case recently and discussed some of the varieties that are quite promising. These varieties have been the most popular in trial selections inline with indications that growers are looking premium varieties.

We expect to be one of a new line of white varieties that will be introduced into the market place. From the trials we have conducted it will be most suited for high altitude, the bud size will be between 6 to 7cm tall, stem length will be 50-80 cm. Transport and vase life are good. Production figures are yet to be concluded, estimates are of 90 to 120 stems m2 at high altitude.

Pallas is already in commercial trial in the Mount Kenya region and hopefully by end of 2017 will be introduced commercially onto the market. For now there will be a limited release for what is classified as an auction variety.

Government Should Stop Anesthetizing Floriculture Investors

By Ernest Muriu and Floriculture Staff

Export Processing Zone (EPZ) program was established in 1990 to provide an attractive investment opportunity for export-oriented business ventures within designated areas or zones. This sought to help the economy through increased productive capital investment, jobs generated, technology transferred, backward linkages developed and diversified exports.

However, to date no one has ever answered, why is flower growing not included in the program. The sector which is predominantly an export oriented business continues to struggle with a stringent tax regime which has slowed foreign direct investment for the last five years and a relocation of a number of investors to the more lucrative Ethiopia. All this has happened under the government’s watch.