Featured Past Articles

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.

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.

Several rose varieties sold by European retailers suffer significant and unnecessary quality loss as a result of exposure to ethylene, a recent Dutch study has shown. With a few preventive measures, the post-harvest performance of these roses can be greatly improved. An alternative is to develop ethylene-resistant varieties. Either way, retailers will be able to offer consumers flowers with improved colour and opening and a vase life up to five days longer than today’s average.

The study of the effects of ethylene on roses was carried out in December 2012 and January 2013 by FlowerWatch, a leading Dutch centre for supply chain expertise, monitoring and development, and commissioned by Chrysal Netherlands, a specialist in flower care solutions. In the study, FlowerWatch followed a range of 25 rose cultivars exported to European retail destinations by two Kenyan growers. The researchers monitored the ethylene concentrations to which the flowers were exposed throughout their post-harvest journey from grower to consumer. They looked at the flowers’ sensitivity to ethylene as well as to ethylene inhibitor AVB, a post-harvest conditioner developed by Chrysal.

Messe Essen Agrees Upon Cooperation Via a New Partner Fair in India

The premier global horticultural fair, IPM ESSEN, has had another daughter: FLORATEC-IPM India in Bangalore. A corresponding declaration was signed by Egon Galinnis, Managing Director of Messe Essen, and M.B. Naqvi, CEO of the future partner, Media Today from Delhi.

Media Today is the largest media group in India and, apart from publishing a lot of trade journals, has been active as an organiser of trade fairs for many years. As M.B. Naqvi explained during the festive signing ceremony within the framework of a congress at AGRITECH in Bangalore, he was very pleased and proud to establish an IPM in India together with the big partner, Messe Essen. Moreover, Naqvi expressly thanked Harald Braungardt, Managing Director of INDEGA (“Association Representing the Interests of the German Horticultural Industry”), for the preparatory contacts which had ultimately led to the successful signing ceremony.

Jubilation as Nyamathi Dispensary Maternity is Handed Over.It was pomp and dance at a Nyamathi dispensary as villagers welcomed the handing over of the dispensary maternity wing. The handing over came with an almost audio-recorded oratory of the Naivasha Horticultural Fair Chairman Mr. Roddy Benjamin not frequently heard in this village. Co-ordinating well with seasoned Mr. Richard MCconel the vice Chairman, they touched the hearts of villagers who came in hundreds to grace the occasion.

Nyamathi Village was a beehive of activities as on lookers lined on the busy Nakuru road to have a glimpse of their leaders’ motorcade led by the Nakuru governor snaked into the village snaked into the village. “There must be a very big occasion at Nyamathi village today people who had no clue of the activities were heard murmuring. Most homes remained closed as they joined their area Governor Mr. Kinuthia Mbugua to grace the occasion.

“Molo River Farm Ltd are making magic. In other word, they exist for the sake of simplicity. They channel their efforts into taking all the worries over farming and exporting of flowers from their customers, leaving them to concentrate on their core activities in other areas. Their contributions to the flower export business are brief, crisp, penetrating, perceptible, and above all creative insight into the minds of the consumers. Memorable ideas, images and stories, where there is more understanding triumph over information”, I concluded as Mr. Andrew Wambua took me round the farm. In his narration from one department to the other, one statement kept on recurring: No compromising of quality whatsoever.

With an iron will, strong enough to drop her teenage bug, Margaret Njambi is a woman on a mission in a world she can feel, but cannot think. Her love for flowers since childhood led her nurse quietly the ambition of one day ensuring production of quality flowers.Q. Briefly discuss Margaret Njambi (Personal background and professional background to your current position as Technical Manager East Africa, Lawn and Garden at Syngenta East Africa Ltd.)

A. My love for flowers started as long as I can remember. I used to be known as the home gardener. I could collect flowers from neighbor’s gardens, with permission of course and I eventually established a flower garden at our home. After high school, the computer bug caught up with me, and just like every other teenager there was a shift of interest , my plan was to study computer science or information science little did I know that destiny would have its way and I would find myself in a Horticulture class.

I was disappointed and so I tried to change my course to a BSc (Education) course which I did not succeed. After two weeks of attending lectures I met a lady who had worked with the ministry of Agriculture and articulated to me some of the opportunities in Agriculture, I warmed up to the course and by my 2nd year I had already developed a passion for the course especially floriculture units. I went for attachment in a flower farm, in my final year my project was on vase life of Carnations and that’s how I started my career in flowers and it has been quite a journey.

In December 2008 after graduating from University I started my career in the flower industry, where I worked for 2 years growing roses and as a research in one of the leading farms. In December 2010 I joined Syngenta East Africa Limited as a technical representative. About a year later I took up the technical manager role, Lawn and Garden. I have been in the role for about 2 years now.