Featured Past Articles

Flower prices over the last six years have grown at only 7 percent whereas costs of production in Kenya have risen by more than 50 percent. This has impacted on the profits and ability to reinvest and expand. Principal amongst these cost increases are power and labour. In addition, the industry has also sought to absorb cost increases through improved efficiencies. This was said by Mr. Richard Fox, Kenya Flower Council Chairman, during the opening of IFTEX 2014.

Admireably, the industry has been growing from 1995 when flower exports amounted to 25,000 tonnes.

Speaking during the annual industry event, he added that the industry grew annually at a remarkable 10 percent up to 2008 when it reached 120,000 tonnes and became one of the top forex earners for the economy, contributing 3 percent to GDP and 9 percent of Kenya’s exports. Equally importantly the industry has created more than 50,000 jobs in direct employment and many more in support industries and services.

Botrytis is one of the most damaging pathogens with stems, leaves, flowers, fruit and seedlings all being potential victims. Many growers are familiar with the symptoms of Botrytis, but for some, the first encounter with this pathogen results in severe plants losses therefore early detection and control are vital if the disease is to be prevented from rapidly spreading though a crop.

While Botrytis is a formidable pathogen, it is also the same fungi which is employed by some wine makers and was even given the name ‘The Nobel rot’ for its ability to concentrate sugars and impart a particular flavor to late harvest grapes. Wine makers in many areas of the world make use of Botrytis infection of their grapes to produce a sweet, high quality wine, which commands high prices. Despite this beneficial use of Botrytis, it is a disease, which plagues commercial and hobbyist growers alike, and one that affects virtually all of the crops we grow hydroponically.

Over 20% of the flowers shipped by growers never reach the final consumer in the export market because they are lost or damaged during the various stages of the distribution chain. Losses can be reduced by ensuring more careful handling, better temperature regulation, attention to phytosanitary requirements and the use of suitable preservation agents. Such measures may be inadequate and even fruitless, however, if not combined with appropriate export packaging.

Because flowers and plants are living and thus developing organisms, they have a limited life span. Suitable methods should therefore be adopted to ensure that the product’s evolution is controlled throughout the shipping process. The choice of an export packaging, adapted to the product as well as to the distribution network and the market, is therefore important to export success.

Single Face Kraft (SFK)
Most growers show a lot of keenness when choosing cartons, sleeves or even refrigerated containers. However, little attention is generally given when choosing SFKs yet they are the first line of protection for the flowers. This has resulted in growers losing many stems which should have turned into dollars. This was revealed by a research carried out recently by this periodical.

In Kenya, there is a wide range of SFK’s available to growers and exporters from different suppliers. Though the reason for selecting a specific type of SFK are not always clear. Pack rates and cost efficiency seem to be prevailing motives according to our research. The outcome, however, is not always what would be best for the flowers.

Kenyan roses are ranked among the best in the world and this is usually due to the high quality varieties produced by rose breeders with local branches. One such branch is Kordes Roses East Africa situated in Karen, Nairobi and managed by Mr Bas Smit. This is a branch of W. Kordes Söhne based in Hamburg, Germany, which celebrated its 125th Anniversary two years ago. They have branches located in the cut flower production centres of The Netherlands and Kenya, as well as agents located throughout the world. Kordes’ novelties are tried and grown under local conditions and test marketed in the world’s flower markets.

W. Kordes Söhne is a world renowned company in Northern Germany with a tradition of more than 100 years in the hybridization of new rose varieties and in the production of rose plants. Many of the most famous cut rose and garden rose varieties have been created in the facilities of Kordes. An international team works continually on the development of new varieties and the optimization of the production of young plants.

In order to determine the response of varieties under the different climatic conditions of the rose producing countries of East Africa, a large quantity of both standard and new varieties are cultivated in the Kordes’ green house near Nairobi. Results gained from those local trials enable the `Kordes Rose East Africa’ team to offer competent advice on the propagation and cultivation of Kordes varieties. In a bid to keep in touch with client needs and to expose them to new improved rose varieties, Kordes Roses organizes Open Days at their Karen Testing facility. Participants are taken on a guided tour of the breeding facility by Kordes officials.


The GreenCHAINge consortium, made up of trading companies and research institutions, was satisfied with the results of the first sea transport of roses in 2014. The practical test involved transporting both large and small-flowered roses between the port cities of Mombasa and Antwerp. Conditions in the air-conditioned reefer containers (such as the required low temperature and relative humidity) were controlled remotely.

After the 25-day transport, the roses were subjected to another 8 days of simulated conditions of export to various European destinations (two days of cold storage, two days in transport containers, and four days of retail outlet conditions) and finally a test for keeping quality in the vase. The average vase life for these roses was ten days which was not at all inferior to the roses transported as air freight in which, unlike sea transport, the temperature is often difficult to control.

Over the years Carton Manufacturers Ltd has established itself as one of the largest and most reliable corrugated box manufacturing plants in Kenya and is a key supplier of corrugated boxes to the industry.

The company provides a total packaging solution from design to delivery, with products ranging from small pizza boxes to large flower cartons.

The plant is well equipped with state of the art machinery and a team of multi skilled employees has made ‘Next day service the norm’.

All production is bespoke and fully tailored to meet the customer’s required specifications.

The plant is conveniently located off LungaLunga Road, on the outskirts of Nairobi’s Industrial Area, not far from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. It is ideally suited to ensure packaging requirements can be collected after delivering flowers or produce to the cargo center.

For large and regular customers we can also facilitate a delivery service directly to your farms at a nominal cost.

In addition to being price competitive, Carton Manufacturers has been able to supply light weight cartons with adequate strength to reduce freight costs for our customers.

It’s yet another season for horticulture stakeholders and its affiliates. The rare occasion looks ‘glossy green and rosy scented’ but only for the sake of business attributed to the fast growing and highly lucrative floricultural sector.

As the curtain of the 3rd IFTEX trade show opens on 4th-6th June, there will be no room for any shortcoming that may inhibit its success. All minds and hands that know what it entails have been up and down trying to put different pieces together to make what can be seen as the true spirit of the regional horticultural industry.

The event, since its first ever occurrence in 2012 has continued to aggressively spread its tentacles world over, luring to its importance the most reputed and less comparable companies in various business of sorts. The beginning of the event concept wasn’t such humble though the humidity and value that is endowed in the event itself reflects a totally different picture. Good institutional organization, positive projection and a solemn consideration of participants’ interests.

From the organizers the tussle process of liaising with potential exhibitors and buyers is becoming less stressful due to the consideration that people have absorbed the IFTEX concept and can no longer be enticed in order to participate in it. Instead they prepare in time and consider how best they can to make the best out of the entire event. Most of the exhibitors have participated previously and know pretty well what is entailed in the process.

Thanks to HPP Exhibitions who have tirelessly worked all round to have the horticultural fraternity exhibit their products and highlight their best practices. Over ninety percent of the exhibitors had confirmed participation in time of going to press. Surprisingly, only few stands had not been booked by the time.