Category Archives: Horticulture

Asoko reviews Flower Farms (Floriculture) in Kenya

Asoko Insight has published an interesting review of flower farms and the floriculture industry in Kenya showing trends for the region and new markets for what has been a steady export for the country. It is Interesting that the Netherlands is considered the world’s largest producer of flowers with a 45% of the export value, followed by Colombia 17% and Ecuador 10%. Kenya has 9% of the global flower market, far ahead of Uganda and South Africa in Africa.

  • Export-oriented: Kenya flower exports earned $813 million (Kshs 81 billion) in 2017 according to Kenya’s Horticultural Crops Directorate and these are growing at 11% per year. Kenya’s 2018 economic survey has these cut flowers, 160,000 tones of them representing 71% of horticultural earnings; much larger than vegetables and fruits at Kshs 24 and 9 billion, respectively. Most flowers are grown for export, while domestic demand is but a small fraction that comprises purchase of low grade products. 
  • Producers: There are 236 companies actively growing flowers, 24 are large, and these include Oserian Development, James Finlay, Carzan, Primarosa, Vegpro Group, AAA Growers, Mount Elgon Orchards, Flamingo, PJ Dave, Kariki, and Timaflor. Producers need certification to break into export markets and sell at premiums. Large farms market their flowers to sister companies and contract smaller farms who also have the option of using international wholesalers.
  • Netherlands: FloraHolland is the largest flower auction in the world and has historically Europe has been the main destination of Kenya’s horticultural trading, but the report  mentions that some large Kenyan producers are bypassing the Dutch auction system, directly supplying bouquets and loose flowers to large Western retailers such as Walmart and Tesco who focus on delivery, reliability, and traceability, not just price. Primarosa was recently in the news pushing for the Kenya floriculture industry to set up its own flower auction.
  • Ethiopia: The report also compares the floriculture industry of Kenya and Ethiopia which has been in the news due to the long-running Karuturi versus Stanbic bank case which has highlighted that some flower farms are shifting their floriculture interests and investments to Ethiopia where there are less labour (union) and tax issues in production. Kenya’s flower exports in 2016 were $690 million compared to $190 million for Ethiopia. That said, it has not been smooth sailing for Karuturi in Ethiopia so far.  

Read more in the Asoko report (PDF) on Kenya’s floriculture industry.

Kenya – Dubai: Fresh Exports & Chamber Commerce Trade

There’s a delegation from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Nairobi this week and they were hosted by the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI). The Dubai Chamber announced that they will open a representative office in Nairobi, their fourth in Africa, after Addis, Accra, and Maputo – to do market research, discover opportunities for partnership and value addition, support Dubai businesses in Kenya and give Kenyans information about business opportunities in Dubai.

dubai-flag

Kiprono Kittony said Kenya imports about $900 million from Dubai and exports about $300 million. He said that some challenges of business in Kenya include double taxation between the counties, infrastructure to the counties, corruption, but that he saw endless trade opportunities for their 14,000 members in 45 counties.

Naushad Merali said that when he first went to Dubai in 1982, it was smaller than Mombasa, but it had since transformed, thanks to Sheikh Mohammed’s leadership.  He said Kenya was one country with a stable currency and Dubai investors would not have to worry about moving money in and out the country – and that while manufacturing was difficult due to dumping from Asia, the advantage was if you were doing agro-business, especially of things that are grown here. A Stanbic bank executive said they were the largest bank in Africa said they were ready to finance projects in infrastructure energy, renewable energy, tourism, electricity transmission etc. – and that while banks are able to do projects of $25 – $ 60 million, with larger than $100 – $200 million, ones there was need to syndicate across borders.

bananas-for-dubai

Hot button issue. Kittony also spoke of Kenyan flowers that go to Amsterdam and then get re-shipped to Dubai. He added that Kenya had developed a disease-free livestock belt that could export to Dubai and the Gulf states (GCC). Someone else said that there are only 5 Kenyan fresh products on Dubai supermarket shelves (including mango and avocado) out of a potential 70 others, and lots of fresh stuff is sent to Europe where it is repacked and relabeled before being shipped to Dubai. While someone else said the lack warehouses and charter flights from Mombasa and Eldoret were the problem, another said that there were 14 Emirates flights a week, along with others from Kenya Airways and Etihad (and Qatar) – so flights were not the problem. Another said that Kenya had simply not marketed itself fully to Dubai in terms of what it could produce and export and get to Dubai via a 4 hours flight or a 12-day ship ride. Kiprono later lamented that flights flew into Eldoret, full of cargo, and flew out largely empty – while they could carry flowers, coffee, bamboo and other things.