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Exhibitors Follow opening speech keenly

The 1979 film ‘Being There’, is the only screen performance for which actor Peter Sellers won an Oscar. Seller portrays a simple minded gardener turned from a sheltered existence into the harsh realities of life. Through a series of mishaps and misunderstandings, the gardener became a highly respected policy adviser to the president of United States.

The thinking on which the character builds his reputation and gains recognition as an authority is the simple philosophy that politics and business are very much like a garden-find or make the right sort of soil, plant it well, nurture it, feed it, and it will reward you well by providing for you year upon year.

IFTEX provides opportunities to engage with current and prospective buyers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re marketing a product or selling your new variety, an in-person presentation and short question based conversation afterwards can help you to close the deal quickly versus an email sharing the latest sales promo.

Mr. Dick Van Raamsdonk., IFTEX President

IFTEX has traditionally been a very popular exhibition to market your products, services and business. With advances in social media marketing and Internet technology, like webinars, Google hangouts and video conferencing, the value and benefits of marketing via trade fair comes up. Though technology is changing marketing at a rapid pace, there are several benefits from having exhibit presence at a trade show.

These six key benefits are why your business must have IFTEX Exhibition marketing presence:
1. IFTEX Creates Lasting Impressions If Done Right
The main purpose of IFTEX is to showcase a wide variety of options for attendees and business to engage and interact with each other. With a well-designed trade show booth that draws attendees’ attention, a few promotional items, a contest opportunity with giveaways and sales collateral, you will have a well-rounded booth experience that leaves an impression with a prospective customer for months. Consider having attendees enter a drawing by submitting a business card or completing an action on social media. These types of promotions serve dual purposes: increasing engagement and capturing potential contact information as well.

1. What experiences led you into agronomy, take us through the journey and your current role with Bayer East Africa, What do you enjoy most about working with farmers?
Agronomy started in my childhood since farming was the only way of living in our society where I was growing up. This led up me to pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture at JKUAT and started my career at Technoserve impacting growers with GAP knowledge. One thing led to the other and I found myself in Bayer as a technical assistant in horticulture sector and later joined the floriculture industry where I have grown through for 10 year to my current role of leading Floriculture and Export vegetables sector in Kenya. Farmers are the most patient people you will ever find, and out of this you can learn a lot from them. That’s why I enjoy working with the farmer.

This Valentine’s Day many people bought flowers for their significant other without a lot of thought as to where those flowers came from. International trade, however, has a huge part to play in keeping the UK’s florists stocked with fresh cut flowers.

Where the UK imports flowers from
A little-known fact is the second top import market to the UK for flowers is Kenya, which supplies just over 8 percent of British-sold flowers, or 10,000 tonnes, worth not far off £67 million. Cut flowers account for 25% of all Kenyan imports to the UK.

Alongside the domestic UK trade in flower cultivation, the biggest import market to Britain is the Netherlands, which supplies more than 80 percent of cut flowers, worth £500 million, according to Trade Maps.

Digital trade corridor
The Institute of Export & International Trade has been working with donor organisation TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) to implement a ‘digital trade corridor’ between the UK and Kenya to help simplify trade between the two nations.

The initiative, called the ‘UK-Kenya Trade Logistics Information Pipeline’ (TLIP), aims to eliminate documentation and introduce better visibility in the supply chains flowing between the UK and Kenya. This initiative builds upon the Kenya-UK Economic Partnership Agreement, which was signed in December 2020.

If it is possible to learn from the mistakes of others, a moment has come for our parliamentary committees and the Ministry of Agriculture to take a good look at Sri Lanka. For, what better way to implement great policies than by seeing their impact beforehand?

And, as the Kenyan establishment continues to flirt with the idea of banning most of the country’s pesticides, it now has a full example of a country that did it. For, in April last year, Sri Lanka became the world’s first organic-only nation, by banning all agrochemicals. 

So no one needs to argue anymore about what it does to agriculture stopping the medicines, the dips, the weed control, or the insecticides. Now, we can see it, as Sri Lanka handles a consequent and colossal food crisis. This is particularly important, as it clearly cuts no ice pointing out the obvious outcomes of slashing our agricultural production by an estimated 40%.

Flowers Expo Moscow, Russia

By Mary Mwende Mbithi

With the industry just recuperating from the ravages of covid-19 pandemic, another setback has just hit the global flower industry. The war in Ukraine is threatening further disruption to an already overstretched global supply chain. The two countries may not only account for a small proportion of the imports of major growing nations but also account for a great percentage of supply of agricultural input such as fertilizers

Fertilizer is majorly produced in both Ukraine and Russia. More disruptions are likely to set in and further strain an already struggling sector, where the cost of production has been greatly high due to existing cost of fertilizers in Kenya. This will in turn decrease the growers’ profit margins.

The international Women’s Day is just around the corner and the flower industry is overly filled with high expectations to cash in on this remarkable day created in the 1920s. Women’s Day originally was an opportunity to praise Soviet women and their role in the state.

The national holiday is not only a celebration of Russian women but also big business for suppliers and sellers of flowers. Last year, Russia imported thousands of tons of flowers in all shades and colours ahead of the holiday, according to the country’s customs office. The top four countries of origin of the flowers were the Netherlands, Ecuador, Kenya and Columbia.

However, the flower industry is uncertain about the export of flowers to the conflict zones bearing in mind that the flower market spans across Russia, Ukraine and the neighbouring countries like Latvia, Belarus, Estonia and Lithuania.

The suspension of air traffic in both Ukraine and Russia simply means no exportation of flowers to markets in both countries. Though most flowers for this specific day had already been sent before, the issue of payment is also of concern to flower growers with the exclusion of Russian banks from the swift payment network.

Adverse economic effects of the war have also seen the stocks tumble in recent days mounting pressure on inflation already squeezing the stumbling global economy.

In Kenya, a number of growers export to Russia with one grower almost exclusive. Speaking to Floriculture Magazine, growers confirmed this will not only affect the already exported but also all year round market. The Russian market is famous for the large stem and big headed premium roses which may force those growing in high altitude to sell them at throw away prices in the other markets.

Again, if most Kenyan flowers miss their target markets in Russia and Ukraine they will eventually end up in the EU market which is also a flower destination for Kenyan grown flowers thus causing a market saturation which in turn causes decrease in prices hence losses to the growers.

Effects of Russia and Ukraine conflict will be greatly felt by suppliers and supermarkets across Europe in the coming weeks. On the other hand, Russia and Ukraine supermarkets as well as retailers that supply flowers to the end consumer have also been affected as fears of a protracted armed conflict escalate. This means that the bouquets will not reach the end consumer.

If this conflict persists, effects will be felt on the entire supply chain because there will be need to optimize their results through adjusting the purchasing price from their suppliers who are feeling the heat due to high costs of production and transportation resulting from soaring energy and fuel prices.

Consequently, growers are calling for an amicable solution to enable them continue with business as usual.

By Mary Mwende Mbithi

Fertilizer

Though a happy day painted Red in colour, with overwhelmingly high expectations, this year’s Valentine’s Day might not have been so rosy for flower farms in Kenya. Like it has always been the norm, most flower farms have always looked forward to cash in on the day, but this year there was nothing to smile about.

Having experienced the biting jaws of the pandemic and almost shaken to its roots, the flower industry is struggling to resuscitate amid prevailing challenges. The Kenya Flower Council (KFC) in a statement said that the adverse effects of the pandemic saw the country’s export of flowers go down by 10% in the year 2021. As of now, the industry is almost on its feet despite hitches here and there.

Besides the lockdowns and curfews that almost crippled the industry during the onset of the pandemic, new setbacks have continued to add salt to the injury. According to the Kenya Flower Council (KFC), Kenya recorded a decline in flower production with the country producing 160,000 tonnes of flowers last year (2021) compared to 173,000 tonnes in 2020.