Category Archives: Netherlands

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.

Kenyan Guide to the Hague

A guest post

Arriving at Schipol, you can take a taxi to The Hague (around € 45) or for the budget conscious traveler, you can take the train (€ 7.90) to go to the Hague. Within The Hague, transport seems to consist of many, many cyclists, trams and cars. There are two bikes per Dutch person in the Netherlands, but despite knowing that the Dutch use bikes as the main way of getting around within the towns, it’s still a surprise to see all the people cycling to work, to the pubs, to the stores and pretty much everywhere.

When crossing roads, keep an eye out for the bike lane, the tram lane, AND the car lane. And you might want to obey the traffic lights as well, as the pedestrians also wait for the pedestrian crossing light to turn green before crossing, even in the absence of incoming cars. When being driven within The Hague, you might decry all the “wasted” driving lanes that are taken up by the bicycle lanes, but there is no overlapping from drivers into the bike lanes as the cyclists also seem to have significant cycling rights.

For accommodation in The Hague, there are a range of hotels to choose from. The Ibis hotel, part of a European chain is a pretty safe bet (€99 before tax), and is an environmentally friendly hotel, no frills hotel. Prepare for sticker shock for meals though as breakfast goes for €15.

You can get around even if you speak no Dutch, as almost everyone in the service and retail industry speaks English. Window-shop in the Noordeinde area which has really high-end shops located near the Noordeinde Palace. Make sure you soak in the old architecture while you’re there (Google says the Palace was built in the 16th century). The real shopping takes place in Grote Marktstraat where many retail electronics, clothing, shoes, bath & body retails chains have stores, and there are plenty of small shops that sell the distinctive blue and white Delft pottery.

To get the full tourist experience, take a day trip to Amsterdam which has great shopping and tourist attractions. The Van Gogh Museum and the Rijk Museum are must sees. For sightseeing and shopping, a good place to start is Dam Square where shops are flanked by waterways, and with tourists attractions like Madame Tussauds. Many of the international chains have retail stores in this area. Amsterdam isn’t, of course, Amsterdam without a visit to the Red Light District, so if you can, try and see that as well.

Biggest surprise about Holland? That the dikes aren’t brick walls that prevent the sea from flooding the country. They’re more miles and miles of mounds of earth. Oh, and this boy? He never existed as part of Dutch history. It’s an American children’s story!

More on the works of Vincent Van Gogh at Artsy.