Featured Past Articles
Bringing Colour to the Lives

“Bringing Colour to the Lives of Children and Communities”
Dutch Flower Foundation supports Local projects in Africa

The 30 Dutch Flower Group companies operate worldwide, including in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Uganda. This globally operating horticulture concern from the Netherlands is keen to put something back in the local communities in areas where they operate. When Dutch Flower Group was established in 1999, the management board immediately set up its own foundation, through which Dutch Flower Group supports a range of local projects, including in Africa. “The establishment of Dutch Flower Foundation ensured that from the start in 1999 we were able to support projects financially,” according to Dutch Flower Foundation’s chairman Boudewijn Rip. “We do this mainly in areas where the growers we work with are situated. We also support projects in areas where Dutch Flower Group companies are situated and in regions where our employees live.”

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The Power-Consious Farmer

By Wycliffe N. Sovari

Technically speaking, “power” is the ability to do work ……it all started with the invention of the bulb, we had the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell (18th CENTURY) and since time immemorial; Electronics and Electricity are part and parcel of man’s life all over the globe. Engineering, technology, innovation, applied science and agriculture are thus interdependent and inseparable in our normal day-to-day activities.

Narrowing down to Power as a utility in farming and for that case electricity we really need to check on the merits and demerits as farmers and see how best and cheaply we can utilize power?

In our discussion we shall compare and advice the now; “Power-conscious farmer” on HEP (Hydro-Electric Power), Solar Power, Geothermal, Biogas Power and a little hint on rarely discussed sources such as Nuclear power. Nevertheless, our concentration will feature mostly on natural and renewable sources of energy because of their natural abundance and economics of operation.

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Critical Issues in Plant Nutrition in Floriculture

In my line of work I visit hundreds of flower farms a year; the flourishing, the ticking over, and the ones in dire straits. A lot of my hard work is dealing with farms that suddenly run into problems. “Ruth, please come and visit our farm as soon as possible, our production has suddenly dropped to half” is a common call writes Ruth Vaughan, Technical Director, CropNuts

My advice to flower farmers on the critical issues in plant nutrition in floriculture would be as follows:-

Start with the basics and know what you are dealing with. A solid ‘risk’ assessment before you even buy the farm is recommended. Dig soil pits to look for soil layers, compaction zones, soil depth, underground water or solid rock. Is the soil type even across the farm? Where does the water go when it rains? Does it hail in this area? What are the day/night temperatures and what is the annual rainfall? Look at the aspect and slope of the farm, will you need special drip lines? Do a complete soil analysis, nematode count, pathology screen and irrigation water analysis. Now you know what you are dealing with and can work out the economics. It’s better to get a shock now than after your investment.

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Brexit: Threats and Opportunities for British Floriculture

Brexit is still causing a stir in Great- Britain, including among growers, who have been talking a lot about the UK’s upcoming departure from the EU the last couple of months. The structure, distribution channels and staffing needs of a company seem to play an important role in the entrepreneur’s opinion about Brexit.

“I’m really disappointed that the majority of the population voted in favour of leaving the EU”, says Matthew Smith of Brighter Blooms in Preston. “My preference was to stay; operating alone isn’t good for our economy. International business is going to be more complex without a doubt, it’s going to involve more paperwork for example. And we may have to start paying import duties on products from abroad.”

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Celebration of the life of the pioneer of Kenya flowers Hans Zwager

Family, staff, friends and relatives gathered at the Oserian Stadium in Naivasha on December 20, 2016 to celebrate the life of the pioneer of the Kenya flower industry Johannes Ewaldus Maria Zwager popularly known as Hans Zwager who has passed on at the age of 90. Hans Zwager founded leading flower export farm, Oserian Development Company in the early 80s marking the beginning of a business which would drive an industry to grow into one of the top export earners for Kenya – a key employer and driver of a major socialeconomic transformation in the region. An estimated two million people depend on the flower industry today through direct and indirect employment at both the farm and across the value chain.

To celebrate the legacy left behind by Hans Zwager, an afternoon and evening of entertainment was organized by the Oserian family to give their hero a befitting send off, said Kirimi Mpungu, the firm’s director of administration.

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Brief

REGIONAL BRIEFS
No Cause of Alarm

By the way, things have calmed down in Uganda. Things are now handled in the Netherlands; the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation has requested the Embassy in Uganda to investigate the recent events.

Royal van Zanten employees entered a greenhouse that had just been disinfected and a week later, other employees entered a different Royal van Zanten greenhouse and came into contact with the remains of two eco-friendly products and a chemical agent.

Smit has been very disappointed about the way the two incidents were handled by all sorts of organisations and the media. The incidents got totally blown out of proportion - the Ugandan floricultural industry was accused of sexual harassment and slavery. Smit spoke with the union last week. “I asked them whether, during the 22 years that we have been here, there had ever been any reports of sexual harassment at our farms. And whether they had ever heard of us missing a single month’s payment. The union could only negate these things.”

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IPM ESSEN 2017: World’s Leading Fair for Horticulture

The Netherlands are the Partner Country and the Innovation Showcase is Celebrating an Anniversar

From January 24 to 27, 2017, the international green sector will be guests at Messe Essen. IPM ESSEN will portray the entire value added chain of plant production: Around 1,600 exhibitors from 50 countries will show their innovations in the Plants, Technology, Floristry and Garden Features areas. The signs are on course for success: All the market leaders have confirmed their participations. In particular, the official national booths are registering growth. The Innovation Showcase will celebrate its tenth anniversary and will be one of the highlights of the extensive supporting programme. Furthermore, the 35th world’s leading fair for horticulture will have a partner country: the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

IPM ESSEN is well-known for its high internationality on both the exhibitor and visitor sides. In 2017, the international joint booths will be supplemented by another country, i.e. Japan. Bonsai will be on display. Belgium will occupy three exhibition areas for the first time. India has booked additional area. Other national participations will come from China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Hungary and the USA.

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