Exports of quality flowers showcase Kenya as serious global trader

A warm climate, great location and efficient transport connections keep Kenya competitive as a global flower producer.

Nikiwe Bikitsha gets a guided tour of the Nairobi Flower Market. Picture: Primedia

Kenya continues to defend its position as the third largest exporter of cut flowers in the world - accounting for around 35% of all sales in the European Union.

Roughly half of the East African country's 127 flower farms are concentrated around Lake Naivasha, around 90 kilometres northwest of Nairobi. The area has established itself because it has a freshwater lake and is not very far from Nairobi, which makes export easy. So with the area's warm climate and good supply of water, high-quality blossoms can be grown year-round without the need for expensive-to-run greenhouses.

According to CEO of the Kenya Flower Council Jane Ngige, who met journalist Nikiwe Bikitsha at the Nairobi City Flower Market, for Standard Bank's Africa Connected campaign, part of the recipe for their success has been their close working relationship with the flower vendors.

They are the public image of the flower industry - they are the ones who flower offices, hospitals funeral homes.

Jane Ngige, CEO - Kenya Flower Council

But moves are afoot to improve what is already great. The Flower Council has established a committee to bring younger vendors - fresh thinking - into the industry. This business is significant beyond foreign exchange earnings in that it employs 100,000 people directly, and about 500,000 indirectly.

You are looking at 125,000 tons per year as of 2015 - worth about €600,000.

Jane Ngige, CEO - Kenya Flower Council

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