Floriculture–Caring For People and Nature

Producers should seek to ensure that their activities have at best a neutral impact on the environment and should preferably contribute to an improvement.

The Kenya Flower Council held a conference themed: Floriculture: Caring for People and Nature on 6th June 2017, at Mayfair Hotel in Nairobi. The meeting brought together players in the flower industry and stakeholders from government agencies and the civil society, both local and international. The conference was called to address the challenges in the industry and to review current interventions that could contribute to sustainability in the flower industry. It looked at the aspirations of sustainability at both the global and local level, at the guidelines that the industry has adopted the company standards in place and at initiatives that the industry has developed in partnership with other stakeholders. The forum came up with recommendations to that members could adopt to help them run their businesses successfully.

Mr. Richard Fox, the Chairman of Kenya Flower Council (KFC) said that sustainable practice in the flower sector is much more than growing but also encompasses other issues like governance, regulation, logistics, human capital, marketing and distribution.

He mentioned that more than that, it also involves customer choice and the disposal of what the farmers produce. To meet the goal of sustainability, he said producers should seek to ensure that their activities have at best a neutral impact on the environment and should preferably contribute to an improvement.

He said if the floriculture industry views sustainability as an opportunity rather than a threat to improve profitability and minimize business risks, then it will readily respond to the challenges that arise. He said the Kenya Flower Council Silver Standard is now one of only three standards that have been reviewed through the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) process to meet both the social and environmental benchmark set by the international floriculture sector. Already customers are beginning to recognize that the KFC Silver more than meets their certification requirements. Ultimately, adoption of KFC Silver as their preferred standard for products from Kenya will avoid duplication and reduce business costs.

Why Invest in Kenya?
Encouraging foreign investors to have trust in Kenya, Mr. Mike Eldon of Depot said that there is extraordinary potential in the country. According to Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA). Kenya is a preferred business destination. There are, plenty of business opportunities, a well-established and vocal private sector with strong partnership with the government, increased ease of doing business, macroeconomic and political stability, improved governance, its strategic location, EAC is the most integrated economic block in the region, developed social and physical infrastructure, supportive government policies, a skilled workforce and a fully liberalized economy. However, in spite of the government’s support of the private sector, there are challenges like corruption, and the sector has yet to exploit its full potential.

Unleashing Floriculture for Climate action and Attainment of SDGs.
Speaking during the conference, Dr. Richard Munang UN Regional Climate Change Co-ordinator said as Kenya progresses to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the flower industry stands to play a pivotal role. But this will not materialize if the earning capacity of the industry is not maximized and profitability stabilized. This means minimizing waste by utilizing glut along the supply chain. For example, while postharvest losses in Kenya’s floriculture can be as low as 5%, they can also escalate to as a high 60-100% on occasions.

He suggested complementary partnerships to expand product lines through more value addition, and complementary partnerships to influence policy processes. Going forward, he said, policies will be needed to address peculiar issues of the flower industry given its contribution to achievement of the SDGs.

He said collaboration with UN Environment, which is a globally recognized brand in combating climate change, offers an opportunity for the flower industry to legitimize; hence strengthen the market appeal of sustainability efforts.