Featured Past Articles
The Journey of the rose

Businesses operating in the Kenyan-Dutch cut flower supply chain will continue meeting with government agencies and trade promotion specialists from the two countries in the next few months to tackle a host of minor and major inefficiencies and bottlenecks hindering further growth. These so-called Platform Discussions, initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, are the result of a recent in-depth study of this supply chain. The aim of both the study and the meetings is to lift the Kenyan-Dutch cut flower supply chain to a higher level, setting new standards for the entire horticultural sector. The result, if the plan succeeds, will be reduced supply chain costs, a longer vase life for flowers and therefore increased value-for-money for consumers, and increased sustainability in terms of a lighter carbon footprint and reduced product and packaging wastage.

Manager of the Month(Nov-Dect 2013)

Chakravarthi : The Grower.
With profound gratitude and humility, Chakravarthi accepted the call to work in a flower farm. Little did he know that the call will take him far from his hometown. Through hard work and sacrifice he has risen from a project manager in India to one of the most succesful flower farm managers in Kenya. He tells his story.

Briefly discuss Chakravarthi (background-personal and as a grower to current position country General Manager Panda Flowers Ltd)
I have done bachelor of science and masters of science in agriculture from Asia’s number one renowned Institute, best for agriculture research and development, Tamil nadu Agricultural university (TNAU) Coimbatore. After my education, I joined Bio dynamic agriculture as a project manager which involves organic farming and mushroom cultivation and training the farmers in to EID parry group. Accidently I was approached by one of the flower farm managers, Mr. Srinivasan, MD for Floritech India Ltd, Bengalore.

Naivasha Women Hospital: A Beneficiary of Fairtrade.

Naivasha flower farms that subscribe to Fairtrade (FLO) standards and are Fairtrade certified have completely changed the image of the District hospital maternity wing. Initially it was an image of 20 women in labour crowded in one central room quietly moaning and swaying until it is their time to go to one large delivery room to deliver in a cot-directly next to another mother giving birth. To date, it is one of the nicest African facilities handling over 500 deliveries monthly. Women and new borns can now enjoy privacy, respect and safety they deserve during their birth experiences.

Currently, it has an 80 patient bed capacity in operation which includes 18 delivery beds.

Over the past 10 years there has been major developments in floriculture and horticulture in Naivasha. This has seen migration of people and their families to the area. Over 70,000 people are employed by the flower sector, with 70% of them being female. The mushrooming employment opportunities did not match with the healthcare facilities. The Naivasha District Hospital had to cater for a population of more than 400,000 people from Naivasha and its environs whereas it was designed with half the number in mind. This resulted into an impossible situation and something had to be done.

Driven by the desire to make a difference and passion for helping others, the Managing Director Panda Flowers Mr. Igal Elfezouaty embarked on a life changing experience. Coincidentally, Cindy Berkland, a women’s health care nurse practitioner from Omaha in the United States had come visiting and had volunteered at the Naivasha District Hospital. Igal had hosted her and they shared the days’ experiences. They both agreed the town needed a bigger and more equipped maternity.

Launch of Vivando

Viva... Viva... Vivando, Viva... Viva... Vivando, filled the air as one of the biggest chemical companies in the world, BASF, launched a creative mode of action with cutting edge technology for the control of powdery mildew in ornamentals. Time almost audio recorded voice of Mr. Patrick Ngugi, Country Manager-Kenya, Crop Protection and public health asked, “Are you afraid of powdery mildew? Are you concerned by the ever increasing threat of resistance build up by fungicides? Are you concerned of scotching flowers and leaving residue? Are you concerned of WHO class of your choice product, Can you achieve your goals in farming without IPM? Do you use wetter from time to time?” Each of the questionreceived a resourcing ‘Yes’ from the over 150 growers in attendance. Today I stand in front you to offer your solution, Vivando.

Launching the new product at a Naivasha Hotel, Mr. Ngugi said Vivando should mostly be used for preventive measures against powdery mildew though it has curative action. He assured farmers of the safety of the fungicide on beneficial predatory insects like bees, birds and earthworms. Adding that the fungicide has excellent components in the control of powdery mildew.

With Love From Mount Kenya

The floricultural arm of the illustrious Sunland Roses, sits like a jewel in the crown of the multi-faceted conglomerate. One of the leading farms for rose cultivation, Sunland Roses is a success story built upon years of dedication, and focused expansion.

Sunland Roses’ over decade-long stint as premium rose cultivators has constantly seen up gradation and expansion. With an employee base of over 700 professionals and an export base of global reach, Sunland Roses continues to further its expansion plans in the floriculture business.

A growing demand and increase in popularity has helped Sunland Roses constantly propel itself to capture newer horizons. Mr. Harry Kruger said, “We are keenly looking at acquiring many more new varieties and technologies to add to its cultivation base and produce as well as invest in land conducive to the cultivation of high quality roses.”

The New MD Bayer East Africa Ltd

Meet Mr. Damien Viollet : The New MD Bayer East Africa Ltd.

Damien Viollet, a Frenchman working for a German company doing business in East Africa, is at the coalface of juggling multiple, fundamentally different cultures. While Damien grew up in France, he has also lived in Germany in his adulthood and had to quickly learn that, for better or for worse, many stereotypes of the two nations contain an element of truth. And knowing how to handle them can open many doors. “The business environments in Germany and African countries are also completely different”, explains Mr. Damien.

With a wealth of experience backed with technical knowhow, he had some tough lessons to learn right from the start. He invested himself heavily in getting to know his customers and their needs, in understanding the Bayer team in East Africa and appreciating local cultural dynamics. The 46 year old Genetics and Molecular scientist is a ‘people person’ and has thrived on establishing relationships and building trust across the agricultural sector in his early days. He has also created positive relations with colleagues at Bayer CropScience.

Biological Control – What Future?

Henry Wainwright, The Real IPM Company (K) Ltd

The crop protection industry is dominated by the large multinational agro-chemical companies such as Syngenta, Monsanto and Bayer Cropscience. The biocontrol business is minute in comparison, with only 3% of global sales of crop protection products. The future of the biocontrol industry is based on a range of interacting factors and difficult to predict the future, however many are suggesting that its future is likely to grow. There are numerous drivers for the use of biological control.

Pesticide resistance.

Whether a pest or a disease, most organisms have the ability to become resistant to a large range of pesticides. This is often seen in the field where one season a particular pesticide works well and later the efficacy is not there. Resistance has been reported in many common groups of insecticides and fungicides. There occurrence of resistance to a biological control is virtually unknown. For instance in Kenya the wide spread adoption of the use of predatory mites was mainly due the fact that many of the conventional pesticides were not working due to resistance.

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