Industry Briefs

Primarosa Moves operations to its Nyahururu firm
According to the company’s Chief Executive, Virag Joshi, the move has been influenced by the recent drought situation that has seen the company suffer from acute water shortage, thus increasing the operational expenditure of buying water to sustain production of roses.

The company says the farm’s water reservoir in Athi River has been completely depleted. For the last few months, the company has been sustaining the flower farm by purchasing borehole water to sustain the production. The company has been operating on its six reservoirs and underground tanks combining a collection capacity of over 380 cubic meters of water which is now exhausted.

Meanwhile, as part of its expansion plan, Primarosa will also be looking at new farms around Nyahururu to increase its current export of over 100 million roses which is achievable due to favourable weather conditions, around the region. Joshi said that the company will not be laying off any of its staff during the transition process to Nyahururu:

“We adequately gave a one-month notice to our staff in March, informing them about the relocation of our operations to Nyahururu. None of them will be layed off. Those who will voluntarily not move with us will be sufficiently compensated according to the terms of their contracts.”

He also stated that the company requires more employees during this expansion process and that more people will have an opportunity to earn a livelihood as the company progresses towards growth and expansion.

“We are currently employing over 1500 employees in all our farms and with this expansion process, we will employ another 20 percent.” Early this month, Seychelles President, His Excellency Danny Faure visited Primarosa in a move that will see Seychelles import roses from the firm in a trade agreement with Kenya.


Tambuzi: New roses available soon!
We have some new exciting roses coming into commercial production very soon. The varieties have been trialled and passed our criteria of scent, shape and colour, to become Tambuzi roses.

We start off with Paco Rabanne…..

PACO RABANNE® This rose has a beautiful warm colour, starting with pale pink outer petals, and opening to an orange yellow-salmon centre. The stems are long, thick and strong, the foliage is dark green and glossy. The rose also has a charming fruity scent, which grows stronger as the rose opens.

It is bred by Nirp® and is named after the famous French fashion designer of Spanish origin, Francisco “Paco” Rabaneda Cuervo, (more commonly known under the pseudonym of Paco

Dümmen Orange to distribute for Jan Spek Rozen
The partnership between Olij Breeding BV and Jan Spek Rozen was recently extended with the signing of a new contract. Following the integration of Olij Breeding BV into Dümmen Orange, this expands the two companies’ collaboration into even more areas of expertise.

Under the new contract, Dümmen Orange is now the agent for Ethiopia, Kenya, Colombia, Poland, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Dümmen Orange has also signed a distribution agreement with Jan Spek Rozen for a number of countries worldwide.

Erik Spek, Director of Jan Spek Rozen: “The international nature of Dümmen Orange gives us access to a large network with plenty of potential. We are delighted with the new arrangement and have great expectations for the future.”

Key principles of the collaboration are continuity of service for customers and optimisation of growing conditions. The Dümmen Orange GreenCare programme will be implemented at all production sites to ensure that crops are grown in optimal conditions. Philippe Veys, Global Product Manager Roses at Dümmen Orange: “The Jan Spek Rozen range has great value to us and our customers. It offers both companies opportunities to improve and build on quality and reliability in production. Our market expertise coupled with our infrastructure at various sites will enable our customers to benefit even more from this collaboration.”

Over the next few months the two companies will focus on marketing the product assortment and informing customers about the opportunities presented by the collaboration. The Jan Spek Rozen range will be showcased to customers as part of Dümmen Orange’s marketing activities.

Panalpina to acquire Kenyan freight forwarder specialized in perishables
Conrad Archer, Managing Director of Panalpina Airflo International freight forwarding and Logistics Company Panalpina is to acquire Air Connection, a Kenya-based forwarder specialized in the export of flowers and vegetables. The move comes after Panalpina’s acquisition of Airflo in Kenya in 2016 and only two weeks after the company formally announced the launch of its global Perishables Network.

Panalpina will acquire the family-owned Kenyan company Air Connection, subject to conditions. The companies reached a respective agreement on May 2, 2017.

“The acquisition of Air Connection will strengthen our existing global Perishables Network and our position as the clear market leader in the perishables arena in Kenya,” says Stefan Karlen, Panalpina’s CEO. Air Connection is specialized in the export of flowers and vegetables from Kenya to multiple destinations including the Netherlands and the UK, and is currently the country’s fourth largest forwarder in terms of air freight export volumes. The merged company will handle around 70,000 tons of perishables air freight per year.

The activities of Panalpina and Air Connection in Kenya complement each other. “While most of Panalpina’s flower exports from Kenya currently go to auctions in Amsterdam, we are specialized in direct shipments to customers,” says Manjit Brar, owner and managing director of Air Connection. “And while Panalpina is strong with big charter shipments from Kenya to Europe, our strength lies in smaller shipments on scheduled passenger flights to over 150 destinations worldwide.”

Direct shipments are a trend in the perishable market, explains Conrad Archer, managing director of Panalpina Airflo: “Increasingly, buyers of perishables want to source directly from the producer and producers want to sell directly to the country of consumption. Direct shipping bypasses intermediaries, reducing touch points in the supply chain. It removes unnecessary costs, potential delays and most importantly allows a fresher product to be offered to the consumer.

At the same time, this development will make sophisticated end-to-end solutions even more important than today. Joining forces with Air Connection will offer additional opportunities to grow the perishables business in Kenya, especially with the export of vegetables, herbs and cuttings.”

The merged company will employ over 350 staff in Nairobi and offer 3,000 m2 of cold storage capacity, which is soon to be extended even further to 4,000 m2. It will also run an office at the port of Mombasa where Panalpina plans to develop the ocean freight business for both perishables (using reefers) and dry cargo. The dry cargo activities involve the import of textiles and export of fashion products, mainly to the USA. Manjit Brar, who founded Air Connection in 1993, will remain as a consultant.

The companies have agreed not to disclose any financial details of the deal. The acquisition is subject to approvals by the relevant competition authorities.


Air France KLM’s flower boost
Air France KLM Cargo recorded a boost in flower volumes over the last five weeks on the back of demand for Valentine’s Day and International Women’s Day.

The Franco Dutch airline handled around 5,000 tonnes of flowers from countries like Kenya, Ecuador and Colombia during the last five weeks.

The carrier said that Amsterdam is one of Europe’s main flower logistics centres because it is home to Royal FloraHolland, the largest trading centre for flowers in the world.

In 2016, the carrier group shipped more than 60,000 tonnes of flowers from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ecuador and Colombia to Schiphol.

Marcel de Nooijer, Executive Vice President AIR FRANCE KLM MARTINAIR Cargo said: “With one extra full-charter freight flight, upgrading aircraft capacity and making full use of our extensive wide-body belly passenger network, [AF KLM Cargo] is proud to show our ongoing commitment and dedication to the flower business, which has a proven history over so many decades.”

The carrier group last year formed the Holland Flower Alliance together with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Royal FloraHolland.

Oserian Flowers signs its employees to mobile health insurance
Kenya’s leading grower and exporter of cut flowers, Oserian Development Company, has signed its workers to a mobile health insurance scheme becoming the first flower firm globally and large employer in the agricultural sector in Kenya to embrace e-health.

The signing coincides with a visit to the country by Dutch investors seeking investment opportunities in the health sector this week. The mobile health wallet solution will be run over MTiba, a Dutch platform developed by CarePay in partnership with Safaricom and PharmAccess Foundation. Dutch healthcare system is rated by Eurohealth Consumer Index as the best on the continent, for seven years in a row.

The development marks a key milestone for the welfare of over 4,600 workers at the expansive Naivasha-based flower farm and adds up to a host of staff programmes the farm has rolled out that have become the industry’s benchmarks including a modern day care and breast feeding (crèche) center for staff children and wellness clinics for cancer screening. “Our core business is production and daily supply of the best of Kenya flowers globally which wouldn’t be possible without a healthy workforce. As we kept expanding, it was becoming more and more challenging to operate the staff outpatient scheme as we brought in more employees each year,” said Kirimi Mpungu, the Director of Administration at Oserian.

“We needed a solution that was sustainable and manageable which could bring new insights into how to further improve staff health and wellbeing. We’re pleased to be among those leading the way on mobile health innovation and we see M-TIBA as the future for the management of outpatient schemes by employers and insurers,” Mr Kirimi said.

Oserian, a high technology farm has developed a policy on health based on Sustainable Development Goal No 3 that is entrenched in Kenya’s Vision 2030, placing health as a foundation for economic and social growth. It falls within the farm’s Flori4Life pillar that seeks to make lives better for staff and surrounding communities.

Under the scheme, over 8,000 users made up of employees and family members will receive an M-TIBA wallet on their mobile phone, allowing them to get access to outpatient care at Oserian Health Centres. The medical data collected via the M-TIBA gives accurate insights into common ailments – and this allows for targeted interventions to keep staff healthy and motivated, Mr Mpungu reiterated.

Kees Van Lede, CEO, CarePay says, “This is another first for the Kenyan floriculture sector. Oserian was the pioneer in exporting flowers from Kenya. Now global buyers and consumers know that there is world-leading mobile technology enabling the people behind the flowers to access the best possible health care.”

Mary Kinyua, Human Resource Manager at Oserian, adds, “Employee health is very important to us. We have free outpatient scheme for all employees, spouses and four children at our Health Centers. Froma business perspective, we needed to move to paperless management of medical scheme benefits to make this important benefit more efficient and get real-time information that helps us take better care of staff.” With M-TIBA, large employers report doubledigit percentage savings on outpatient schemes delivered through real time access to data enabling targeted interventions.

Uhuru raises minimum wage by 18 per cent
President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed that the minimum wage for Kenyan workers be raised by 18 per cent. He made the announcement during his Labour Day speech at Uhuru Park in Nairobi. The head of State also issued a directive to raise non-taxable bonuses and overtime to cushion low-income earners. “I understand that you want to have more disposable income to be able to meet your families’ needs. I am aware the workers on the lower income bracket are struggling to afford basic necessities. It is not fair that they should be taxed heavily,” said Mr Kenyatta. The directives come amid concerns by Kenyan employers that any further increase to the minimum wage would push up expenses for businesses and force further retrenchments.


We have to think big, lest we get marginalised

Mr. Lucas Vos‘’If we want to stay a dominant force in international floriculture, we’ll have to bind the international trade channels to us. Even if those channels are in competition with our own growers. We have to think big, lest we get marginalised, says Lucas Vos.’’

As an example, Lucas points to the growing number of roses coming from Ecuador. Are they allowed to enter the Dutch marketplace? “I understand perfectly well Kenyan growers are not keen on that, because it does not benefit them. The question is: would those roses end up going through the Dutch channels anyway? Yes, because all of our clients use global sourcing and they are well organised.”

Holding position
Lucas feels it is of the utmost importance that Royal FloraHolland holds its position as the leading marketplace, the hub of supply and demand in floriculture. “Anyone can be a supplier. And all international clients can buy their goods here. The only thing we stay well clear of, is offering services after the moment of purchase. Our exporting clients already take care of that.” Growth across the borders Is there a cooperative out there that is similar to Royal FloraHolland? Lucas has Friesland Campina in mind, a dairy company with members from the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. And this cooperative also buys milk from Chinese and Pakistani dairy farmers, among others. “It’s interesting to see how this Dutch company goes about its business. All supply goes via Friesland Campina, but it’s not restricted to members only. Royal FloraHolland is a vibrant Dutch cooperative, and we’re solid as a rock. In order to grow, we need to look across our borders, if I’m honest. And I’m talking about increasing the turnover here, not about gaining more members. Growth should not be inextricably linked to membership, in time to come. Floriculture in the rest of the world is growing faster than in the Netherlands, and we should act accordingly.”

We need to change
Is our marketplace indispensable? The world around us changes so rapidly that we have no choice but to go with the flow, Lucas stresses. More and more international marketplaces come into existence - take E-Bay and Alibaba, for instance - and Royal FloraHolland can take advantage of that development. “By going even more digital. The market will dictate the course our physical marketplace will take. At the same time, we must remain true to ourselves. We must play the leading role on the stage of international floriculture.”


China International Floriculture & Horticulture Trade Fair To stay in Guangzhou in March, 2018

China International Floriculture & Horticulture Trade Fair (Flower Expo China) (Also called “CFTF”) was held very successfully in Guangzhou. Even though the florist supplier were very busy at March, at that time they were drawing into the work of preparing Chinese Spring Festivals, Vantentials’ Day and Women’s Day, but it is really good time for sourcing and good beginning for New Year. Following the good result of this year’s Flower Expo China, the choice for the month of March for 2018 was confirmed to continual again by organizer Guangdong Grandeur International Exhibition Group.

Co-organizing with Holland HPP Exhibition, and supporting by many international floral association, the 2017 show you already miss. Lots of international flower growers and florist related product made wonderful industry feast together in Guangzhou. Both exhibitors and visitors were very satisfied with the results. Undoubtedly, “Professional “is key element to be a success.

What’s more, it also was a real opportunity for flower buyers to source fresh cut flowers from the main flower producing countries, i.e. Ecuador, Colombia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Holland and so on.

Another one of most exciting news is that, Kunming Flower Association strongly encouraged what organizer did this year, and they will join us together to make 2018 (March 21 to 23) show more wonderful.


FSI Members using the Basket of Standards in their supply chain

The Kenya Flower Council Flowers and Ornamentals Sustainability Standard is in the FSI basket of standards, an instrument developed by the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) to mainstream and promote responsible sourcing of flowers & plants in the areas of environmental and social practices. The FSI Basket enhances transparency on standards criteria, identifies responsible sources through independent benchmarking, avoiding duplication of costs and audit fatigue in the supply chain. As individual companies, FSI members are committed to promote and put the FSI basket of Standards into use in their supply chain. Kenya Flower Council is a Member of FSI.

Recognized as independent international reference for responsible sourcing, the FSI Basket is also a practical tool to identify the basic requirements and help avoid duplicate certifications, audits and costs. The shared objective of FSI members is to have the floriculture supply chain, from breeders and growers to florists and retailers recognize and use it in their supply chain.