Supply Chain Council of European Union |

Flower farmers begin exporting by sea

Workers from Naivasha based Maridadi flower farm prepare roses for export ahead of Valentine Day when demand for the flowers is at its highest. Farmers are complaining over high freight charges coupled by lack of enough airlines to ship out their daily production to the EU market. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

The Kenya Flower Council (KFC) has embarked on an ambitious project of transporting flowers by sea following a rise in air-freight charges.

Under the programme, the council is targeting to transport over 50 per cent of their produce in the next eight years, terming the venture as ambitious but possible.

Currently, the floriculture sector is facing logistic challenges due to a rise in freight charges and unavailability of cargo planes.

According to the council chief executive Clement Tulezi, they had embarked on training the farmers on the new venture which would address the issue of capacity and charges.

He said that they were currently doing 150 containers every week as part of the pilot project adding that sea freight was the way to go.

“We are projecting that we will be ferrying 50 percent of the cut-flower through sea-freight in the next eight years and we are working with Kenya Railways on this,” he said.

“We have been accused of being one of the leading air-pollutants but a shift from air to sea will see carbon emissions from cargo planes ferrying flowers reduced by 80 percent.”

Speaking in Naivasha, Tulezi noted that prices of fertiliser and its availability continued to be one of the major challenges currently facing the sector.

He called on the government to intervene so that they would import cheaper fertiliser from other countries away from Russia and Ukraine which were currently involved in war.

On production, he said that currently they were exporting 3,500 tonnes per week adding that they expected this rise to 4,200 tonnes during Mother’s Day.

The Agricultural Employers Association (AEA) called for subsidies to support flower farmers who were yet to fully recover from Covid-19 pandemic.

According to association CEO Wesley Siele, farmers’ profit margins were shrinking by the month, a move that was affecting workers welfare. 

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