AFRICA: Kenyan flower exporters eyeing sea change

Spikes in international crude oil prices and disruptions to supply chains due to weather and volcanic activity have prompted the Kenya Horticultural Crops Authority to undertake trials to switch the export of flowers from air to sea transport in partnership with some local fresh produce exporters, according to a report in Kenya's Business Daily.


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Spikes in international crude oil prices and disruptions to supply chains due to weather and volcanic activity have prompted the Kenya Horticultural Crops Authority to undertake trials to switch the export of flowers from air to sea transport in partnership with some local fresh produce exporters, according to a report in Kenya’s Business Daily.

“We have been undertaking these trials for close to one year – each with different degree of success – but we are not ready to go public about them until we get to the point where we feel we are confident enough,” said a general manager at one of the firms involved in the trials.

For years Kenya has relied on the natural quality of its flowers to out compete those grown artificially within Europe – an export trade that brings in Sh70 billion-a-year. It takes at least two weeks to get fresh produce from Kenya to Europe by sea, says Jane Ngige, CEO of Kenya Flower Council.

“While trials with carnation flowers have shown we can successfully export by sea under controlled conditions, roses, which represent 60 per cent of the country’s flower production have proved too sensitive to be transported over a long period of time,” Ngige told the Business Daily.