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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.

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service is training experts to help detect a new invasive mango mealybug pest.

According to the UN-Food and Agriculture Organization that is supporting in training the experts, early detection and early identification of the pest will give countries in Eastern Africa region an advantage to launch early action.

This will help mitigate the damaging effects of the pest. Mango mealybug feeds on the tree and produces droppings which make the leaves black and sticky. This lowers the strength of the tree and its production of mangoes. During heavy attacks, a whole part of the tree looks blackish in colour.

The mealybugs are easily spread through international trade in plant materials. The 18 diagnostic experts come from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.

“’Rules-based trade’ ensures that flower trade runs smoothly”

“Trade rules tend to be taken for granted. However, without rules, there would be mayhem. A trading system that is based on rules helps ensure that flower trade flows as smoothly, predictably, and freely as possible.” The World Trade Organization recently posted a video in which they focus on rules-based trade in the floriculture industry. In her recent LinkedIn post, Sylvie Mamias, Secretary General of the international floriculture trade association Union Fleurs, discusses the importance of WTO’s focus on floriculture trade.

Let’s talk trade
“How inspiring to see that the World Trade Organization chose flowers to illustrate its latest LetsTalkTrade video episode and explain the concept of ‘rules-based trade’ with a concrete example,” says Mamias. “A clear and useful reminder that a global trading system based on rules helps ensure that international trade flows as smoothly, predictably, transparently, and freely as possible. It also guarantees fairness, stability, and non-discrimination.”

Freight, the taxation regime, and the EU plant health regulation were predicted to be the biggest challenges for the Kenyan floriculture in 2021, according to Kenya Flower Council’s (KFC) CEO Clement Tulezi. “When I was predicting that earlier in the year, I was not wrong. These three have remained the major challenges, and not much has changed since, unfortunately.” In this article, Tulezi goes over the current state of these challenges, as well as a new challenge the Kenyan flower industry is having to deal with and how Tulezi’s association is helping to find solutions and improvements.

20-25% of daily harvest thrown away
According to Tulezi, their top priority at the moment is freight. “In 2020, we temporarily lost demand for our industry, and the airlines found better business elsewhere because of Covid. As a result, the freight costs have gone up, and this situation has persisted. We are still short on capacity. There are still many cancellations. Almost every two days a flight to Nairobi is canceled, meaning that the capacity has not improved. The sector falls short of 1500 tons per week. As a result, the majority of growers and exporters are throwing away 20-25% of their daily harvest. Meanwhile, the demand for Kenyan flowers is good. These growers have invested a lot into their production, for which there is actually enough demand, but there is no space to transport it.”

In addition, the costs of transporting the Kenyan flowers have remained very high. “Moving produce from Nairobi costs on average $2,60 per kilo, whereas this only costs $1.50 for the Ethiopian market. When all other factors are held constant, how can the Kenyan market compete in the same market?”

Insect monitoring forms an important part of integrated pest management programmes. It is crucial to identify pests accurately so that appropriate control measures can be taken. Insect traps are one way of observing the prevalence of insects.

Agricultural research and farming practices are increasingly driven by recognition of the need for sustainable agriculture and lower environmental impact.

Lately, we have main facilities, that boast of the latest technology and a local research and development team that enables them to address the specific needs of its clients. Their mission is to produce integrated and sustainable solutions for pest management that contribute to healthier and more productive agricultural systems. The facilities focus on the production and application of beneficial organisms used in biological pest control and IPM programmes. Insects will be massproduced to support the IPM programmes both locally and internationally.

Biological pest control uses living organisms to suppress pest densities, and is centred on using one type of organism, the ‘natural enemies’, to control another, the pest species.

By Mary Mwende Mbithi

On the shores of Lake Naivasha, off North Lake Road in Kasarani area of Naivasha in Nakuru County lies a magnificent, well maintained farm with landmark, conspicuous greenhouses. Shalimar Flower Farm, a hotbed of horticulture thriving in Avocado and cutflower growing.

Inception and Production
The farm was started in 2002 on a 350 acre piece of land. It is one of the four farms enshrined under the umbrella of Shalimar Flowers (K.) Limited, (previously East Africa Growers). Having expanded from the initial 30 hectares, it currently, runs on 34 hectares massive piece of land. Shalimar Flowers (K.) Limited grows over 40 varieties of Roses mainly the T-Hybrid, Premium and Spray intermediate roses. ( in different farms ) They have incorporated the hydroponics system in their production. They also grow other flowers such as Gypsophilla, Solidago, Lipiedium, Chrysanthemum, Eucalyptus and Gerbera. They are also preparing to introduce Astroemeria and Hypericum flowers in their farms.

Fertigation is a widely used farming practice. The fertigation technique allows growers to save time, resources, and efforts by completing two events at a time: fertilization and irrigation. Customization of modern fertigation systems and innovative satellite-based software enable pinpoint variable rate fertilizer (VRF) applications. The most efficient method is drip fertigation that reduces inputs and delivers nutrients to the root zone. The technology is suitable for farm enterprises of any size since there are large and small-scale fertigation systems, with manual or fully automated control.

What Is Fertigation?
In fertigation, liquid fertilizers are delivered to plants with irrigation. Compared to traditional fertilization methods, the fertigation technique proves to be more efficient. In particular, benefits of fertigation include: