Featured Past Articles

Briefly discuss Harry (background-personal and as a grower to current position General Manager Sunland Flowers)

My name is Harry Kruger and I am the General manager of Sunland Roses Ltd. Before I came to Kenya to farm Hybrid Tea roses I studied Viticulture and Pomology in South Africa. I was busy making wine when I saw the opportunity by working in Kenya.

How do you see the future for African rose growers? What should they focus on to survive?

The world in general seems to have contradicting ideas about African rose growers. Some I’ve met still think that growers in Africa and especially in East Africa are still only concerned with the auction style of growing. African growers need to concentrate on optimizing the size of their businesses and focus more on quality rather than quantity. That being said, there are still many brilliant farms that grow for auction and that is great, but we should realize that the world is constantly changing and that the direct market is a huge force behind some of those changes. Without going into too much detail, the scenario is basically the following; other countries have been supplying the direct market place with very high quality stems for a long time and the growers in East Africa are fairly new in the game, so to speak. This is not to say that we lack anything or have inferior quality roses, but some markets seem to have this stigma, that long stemmed top quality Hybrid Tea roses do not come from Africa, but rather South America. This was perhaps true in the past, maybe about ten or fifteen years ago, but is no longer the case. Kenya, for one, produces stems that in my mind can definitely rival those from any other country. The goal should be to get markets to realize this and not simply put our flowers in the back and focus on the other countries they’re used to in the past.

When I first visited Preesman’s new show case at Thika, it was on invitation of Jelle Posthumus, the commercial manager, Preesman. I met a team honoured to satisfy the curiosity of their customers who kept on tripling every minute courting for their attention. By count I could not tell the number of times they walked in to the new show case with a different customer then back to the reception area for either continual discussion with the same client or for a fresh discussion with a new client. On a close follow up, I realized that inside the show case was more technical and less commercial whereas in the reception was more commercial and less technical. These men had a wide knowledge of the two worlds of rose breeding. In between the customers, I stole some few minutes and managed to get a few minutes of interview with several of them.


For many years, Dutch Flower Group (DFG) has been active in Africa and especially in Kenya, with respect to sourcing African products, like roses and carnations, as well as other varieties of cut flowers and foliage.

In the past, the activities of the DFG marketing and trading companies, based in Europe, were represented by two well-known local sourcing companies: Flower Sourcing Africa (FSA) and PROGRESS.

FSA was born out of the former DFG Kenya sourcing team. PROGRESS was the Mavuno Group, Professional Grower Export Support Services organisation, which after the DFG/Mavuno strategic alliance in May 2011, migrated to DFG. These two organisations for the last few years have been operating autonomously of each other, both sourcing from and supporting growers on behalf of Dutch Flower Group companies.

Due to the ever-changing market environment the way of working of Flower Sourcing Africa (FSA) and PROGRESS has become more and more comparable over the last few years. Both organisations are active on behalf of European multiple retail customers (i.e supermarkets) as well as floral wholesalers of Dutch Flower Group companies in The Netherlands and UK. These marketing companies deal with the leading parties in the consumer sales of cutflowers, bouquets and plants and work on a long-term basis together.

Helicoverpa Armigera (African Bollworm) Caterpillars In Flowers

Caterpillars are seasonal pests to the flowers but when in season result in major losses to the flower industry as one caterpillar can cause damage to more than one flower. In flowers there are different kinds of caterpillar species which include helicoverpa armigera and spodopteraexigua and thus it’s important to know the exact pest that one has in their crop and out of these two, the helicoverpa species is the notorious and listed as a notifiable pest in the European market.

Helicoverpa armigera commonly known as African bollworm is the main caterpillar that infests flowers in green houses and outdoor ones. It is a pest of roses, carnations, hypericum, gypsophilla amongst other flowers. It is a moth with the larval stages referred to as caterpillar being the destructive stage. It is unique in that the moth lays its eggs singly on the roses and specifically on the softest parts of the crop. In roses the eggs are found on the flower buds and petals. The eggs are small, yellowish-white, ribbed and rather dome shaped. The egg period is two days after which it hatches to a larva- the caterpillar.

The International Flower Trade Expo (IFTEX) now enters its third year in Nairobi, Kenya, with high expectations on both quality and quantity from the organizers, exhibitors and visitors. The show, which debuted in March 2012, is quickly developing a magnetic pull for the flower industry fraternity not only in Africa but the world over.

Speaking to Floriculture Magazine in Nairobi, IFTEX organizer Dick Van Raamsdonk was positive that the show would soon become a global leader if the enthusiasm and interest the exhibitors and buyers have displayed in the past two years is anything to go by. “Together with the expected internationalization, this event will soon become a regional flower trade fair not only for Kenyan flower growers, but for growers from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Ethiopia and other African flower producing countries,” said van Raamsdonk. This year, the show has also attracted South American growers making it more international unlike the Ecudor or Colombian which are purely national.

Local cooperation, global success

Dutch Flower Group (DFG), presented in the latest May-June issue of Floriculture, is represented in Kenya by local companies for the sourcing, handling and supply chain management of cut flowers.

These companies are DFG Kenya (existing of Flower Sourcing Africa/FSA and Progress) and flower handling company Airflo. The local Kenyan sourcing teams will contact growers for the production of cut flowers to the needs of the customers of the DFG marketing companies in Europe. They supply the importing wholesalers who supply florists and also the multiple retailers.

Briefly discuss Wilfred Muthamia (background and chief agronomist Amiran Kenya Ltd) I was brought up in a farming community and had keen interest in Agriculture since my early childhood. For instance I headed the 4K club (Kungana, kufanya, kusaidia Kenya) where we practiced vegetable growing and rabbit keeping.

In secondary school I was the treasurer of the Young farmers club. We grew and sold cabbages to our School. Later on, I joined The University of Nairobi where I studied and graduated with BSc in Agriculture and MSc in Horticulture.

Due to my strong passion for teaching Agriculture, I proceeded to Egerton University and graduated with Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) in 1996. I briefly taught at Kenya Polytechnic (Currently Kenya Polytechnic University College) and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. After this I developed interest in Agrochemicals and quit formal teaching for venture into sales and product development at Farmchem Ltd.

In 2003 I joined Twiga Uganda ltd as the Agriculture Manager, where I worked for 4 years and later on came back to Kenya and joined Amiran (K) Ltd as the chief Agronomist, the post I hold to date.

How would you describe your time as the Chief Agronomist/Business Development Manager at Amiran? Are you passionate about what you do?

It is very interesting! Am very passionate working with farmers. My greatest satisfaction is satisfying our customer needs. Almost every day there are myriad of technical issues which land on my desk. Amiran is a one stop shop for all technical queries, even regarding other companies product land here and we have to assist all our customers regardless of which product they want.