Flower Farming in Mount Kenya Region

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By THEURI KAHUTHIA

July 16, 2018 , Nairobi. At one point, someone might have just surprised you with a bouquet of flowers. Probably, you didn’t wonder where they came from. Before they arrive at your doorstep, the pretty petals have crossed equators or even oceans to get to your doorstep.

To the European Union and America, Kenya is considered to be the largest producer and supplier of flowers. Around Nanyuki region, there are a number of well-known flower farms that produce a wide variety of flowers. Some of the farms include: Flower farms located near Nanyuki are on the leeward side of the mountain and therefore experience relatively higher temperatures of between 22-25 degrees. Flowers do well in temperatures between 16-23 degrees. Even though high temperature speed up flower growth, they facilitate to poor quality flowers and they are therefore controlled though the use of greenhouses.

Flower Farms in Nanyuki

Fresco Flowers

This is a flower company which was founded in 2005 that is located on one of the world’s largest flower auction, known as Royal Flora Hollard, around Nanyuki region. Strategically positioned, this farm creates a perfect platform for the exportation of flowers to Europe and beyond.

Fresco flowers grows different types of roses such as the red rose. With the large farm, the company employs a large number of locals hence creating jobs. With conditioned flights, the flowers are transported from Kenya to Amsterdam, Netherlands or at times Liege, Belgium. The freight forwarder then transports the flowers to the final location which is Aalsmeer.

Bondet Flowers Limited

The MarginPar Hollard partner is located in Nanyuki, at an altitude of 2200 metres. This 35-hectare farm produces Eryngium Questar varieties, Hypericum and Astrantia which are roses that do in high altitude areas. Marketing of the roses takes place under the name Mount

Kenya Flowers.

Due to its outstanding quality of flowers, Bondet Ltd has received accreditation from MPS, Kenya Flower Council and Global Gab. The summer flowers that come from Bondet are sold under the Kariki CW and MarginPar name.

Tambuzi Limited

Tambuzi limited is located in Burguret, on Nanyuki-Naromoru road. It was founded by Tim and Maggie Hobbs, in the mid-1990s where they just started with a few hectares. Today, it has a 65 hectare farm which is subdivide for different purposes. The company grows two types of flowers; summer flowers and roses on a 25 acre perimeter. The rest of the farm is placed under bee keeping, production of sustainable forestry and livestock farming. In order to meet the high flower demand, Tambuzi has added two more farms, Turraco and Pendekeza, both located in Timau.

Even though a river passes through the farm, Tambuzi does not use the water for irrigation. The company has many boreholes and big storage tanks that provide water for irrigation. In addition, it has a dam that collects water during the rainy seasons. The water is pumped to the farm for irrigation purposes.

With a goal to impact other peoples’ lives, Tambuzi employs a large number of the neighbouring community. Just like in other farms, Tim and his family call Tambuzi their home, showing that it’s not all about business.

Just as its “stop and smell the roses” motto suggests, Tambuzi’s flowers have an attractive fragrance. For the reason, they easily find their ways in overseas markets, mostly in countries such as Denmark, Australia, America and United Kingdom.

Red Ice

Red Ice farm is located on the slopes of Mt Kenya, 7 kilometres away from Nanyuki town. In 2004, this farm was established by the Vegpro Group. This is one of the major flower suppliers to Europe, America and Australia. Red Ice Farm is established on an 80 hectares land with only 25 hectares under flower farming. The company plants both roses and herbs. Some of the rose types grown include: Belle Rose, Aqua, Viva, La Belle, Classic Duett, Marie-Claire, Valentino, Red Calypso and Mariyo. In order to create awareness for environmental issues, the remaining 55 hectare have been set aside for forestry and wetlands.

All the water which is used in the farm comes from either boreholes, harvested rain water or at times from the lands’ filtered waste water from the wetlands.

Sometimes, people may ask themselves where most famous florists get the nice smelling roses to make their beautiful compositions. These flowers come from Kenya, and around Nanyuki region in particular.

Equinox Flowers Limited

The farm lies at a high altitude of 2000 metres on the equator. It produces quality cut flowers throughout the year since the equatorial temperatures sustain a perfect balance. This constitutes of warm days and relatively cool nights throughout the year.

Light levels are general high in the farm. As a result, Equinox concentrates on growing rose flowers with intense colors especially the bi-colour variety ones. For transportation of roses from the greenhouses to the park house, the farm has installed a 2 mile cable way which more efficient and faster.

The Kariki Group Flowers

It was started in 2002 at the Kangaita farm, near Nanyuki on the slopes of Mount Kenya.

The farm is on a high altitude of 2500 metres with cool temperatures conducive for flower farming. Specializing on different flowers, the Kariki Group Flowers navigates easily on the international markets. Some of the varieties include: roses, Eryngium, Solidago, Hydrangea, Strokesia and Astrantia. Most of the water used for irrigation comes from the boreholes. During the rainy season, rain water is harvested and stored in tanks.

AAA Growers

AAA Growers is located on the Nanyuki Narumoru road just a few kilometres from Nanyuki town. The farm is on an altitude of 1800 metres and experiences warm temperatures throughout the year. The AAA roses have dominated the flower market in some European countries. With the application of modern facilities and an experienced professional team, the farm produces quality flowers.

Basically, the farm relies on organic fertilizers. Most of the water that is used in the farm usually comes from the boreholes. During the rainy season, rain water is harvested and stored in the tanks.

Mount Kenya Aestromeria

This is a company based within Tambuzi farm that specializes in Aestromeria flowers. This company was started two years ago and has rapidly grown. Most of the facilities used by the company are owned by Tambuzi such as the water sources. The company has managed to purchase a farm in Timau just close to Tambuzi’s other farms in Pendekeza.

Flower Farms in Timau

In Timau, flower farming is slowly gaining popularity with many companies shifting to Timau. A good example of such companies are Kisima and Tambuzi, which have purchased farms in Timau. This is mainly because of the favourable weather conditions for flower farming. In addition, the region has fertile soils following the volcanic activities in the nearby Mount Kenya.

In the Timau region, the climate has done a critical role in flower farming. This is due to the influence of ecology and topography. In addition, glacial extent and sufficient rainfall favours the flowers. The current situation in the slopes of the mountain is wet, with relatively low temperature of about 16-25 degrees. Flowers do well in cool environments.

Rose plantations in the region can easily be distinguished by many polyethylene covered greenhouses. These greenhouses serve a number of functions. For instance, the roses need utmost care from adverse weather conditions. In addition, they need protection from direct sunlight and wind which can destroy the flowers. Some of the major flower farms situated in Timau include:

Batian Flowers Limited

On the slopes of Mt Kenya, just a few kilometres from Timau, is Batian Flowers Limited. The farm is well known for its production of different varieties of flowers such as: alstroemeria, roses, florinca, scented and garden roses and other flowers of unparalleled quality. It proudly boasts of its notoriety and the way it takes care of the the environment and the employees in general.

From the farm, Batian Flowers supplies the world with Kenyan alstroemeria, roses, florinca, scented and garden roses. To buy Batian alstroemeria, roses and florinca you can contact their distribution company in Dubai.

This company’s website will give you an understanding of the organization, our staff and, obviously not to overlook, the unbelievable assortments of flowers that are grown.

Due to strategic position on the slopes of Mt Kenya, energy, information and assurance of flowers, we deliver a nature of blossoms we have confidence in.

Observe and get in touch with us to encounter the blooms yourself. To see the assortments that are being developed and photos of Batian’s homestead please have a further take a gander at the product page.

Upendo Flowers does most of Batian flower’s advertising. Based in Dubai, Upendo flowers are also the distributers of flowers to the entire world.

Uhuru Flowers

Meaning freedom in Swahili language, “Uhuru” Flower Company is located near Timau town, on the northern slopes of Mt Kenya. The flower farm is situated on altitude of 2600 metres above sea level. In the country, this is the highest rose flower farm.

Uhuru Flowers was started in 1998, and has expanded over the years. Led by Ivan Freeman, the farm has a small and highly experienced management. Uhuru’s aim is to consistently produce quality and presentable cut roses with an excellent vase life and a large head size. Its proximity to the equator, high altitude and latitude enables the farm to produce high quality flowers throughout the year.

PJ Dave Group Flowers

The PJ Dave Group is a family-claimed cut-flower business that farms and exports roses day by day to clients around the globe. The group has built up its name and regard for their proceeded with greatness in the worldwide market. With a large farm, the company is able to produce many stems of roses in order to meet the demand for flowers. Having worked their way up as a main brand in the previous 18 years, the PJ Dave Group company is situated slopes of Mount Kenya, a short distance from Timau town.

PJ Dave Group is one of Kenya’s largest producer and exporters of quality roses with a particular focal point of serving its clients, who perceive the Group as one of the principal brands to work with.

Timaflor Flowers Ltd

The farm was started in 1974 by Simon van der Burg, near Timau on the slopes of Mt Kenya. Starting with 5 acres, the farm managed to produce quality flowers that saw it grow rapidly. With time the farm has increased its land size to 100 hectares. It’s only a few miles from the equator and therefore it produces quality roses throughout the year. The temperatures fluctuating between 19 and 23 degrees which is a conducive environment for flower farming.

Timaflor Flowers grows different varieties of flowers with its main focus on roses. In order to guarantee a reliable approach, the farm has come up with sophisticated systems that have also helped in improving the environment.

Mostly, Timaflor depends on solar energy for all its activities. Due to its strategic position on the windward side of the mountain, the farm receives adequate rainfall. The water is harvested and stored in tanks from where it’s then used for irrigating the farm.

Sunland Roses

Sunland Roses is a 50 hectare farm located in Timau, just 50 kilometres from Meru town. The farm is owned by Silas Mwiti. Hosting more than 80 greenhouses, a lot of flowers florish. Some of the varieties of flowers grown in the farm include: Sanoli, Red Naomi, Sweetness, Air force, Cape Red, Scenta, Ice Bear and Anna Karina. Before planting the roses, Mwiti prepares his beds, places the drips and thereafter buys rose stalks. In order to push through in the international market, Sunland flowers are grown organically.

The farm’s main source of fertilizer is worms. Mwiti rears a lot of earth worms that supply him with adequate foliar. Using poles, a polythene material and iron sheets, several beds have been made for rearing these worms.

When harvesting the fertilizer, a lot of water is flushed in to the beds. This water flowers through the polythene material ending up in the storage tanks. From there, the fertilizer is directly pumped in to the greenhouses and eventually to the flowers.

Apart from worms, Sunland Roses also uses dried roses for making manure. This compost manure is mainly used during the planting of new roses.

Since the farm is located on the leeward side of the mountain, it doesn’t rely on rain water. Believing that every single drop is important, Mwiti harvests dew that collects on his greenhouses. He has fixed gutters on all the greenhouses and connected them with pipes that takes the water to the reservoir. Every day, the amount of dew collected is enough to fully sustain irrigation.

After 3 months, the flowers are ready for harvesting. From there, the farm produces about 12000 boxes.

The flowers are sorted, packaged according to their sizes and colour and eventually exported to the markets mainly in Australia, Italy, Holland and Russia.

Lobelia Flowers Ltd.

This is a 20 hectare farm located at an altitude of 2320 metres, on the slopes of Mount Kenya, near Timau. The farm concentrates in growing lobelia flowers which are sold in Japan, UK, Australia, Netherlands and Middle East. It employs the use of solar energy and harvests rain water for irrigation purposes.

Flamingo Siraji

This is a world class flower farm located on the slopes of Mt Kenya, close to Timau. It specializes on large headed roses and spray carnations. Located at a high altitude, close to the equator, the farm enjoys regular rainfall and consistent temperatures which are conducive for flower farming. Most of the customers come from the Middle East, Europe, Japan, South Africa and Australia.

Cutting, Packaging and Transportation

All the cut-flower companies in Mount Kenya region have a pack house for the grading and packaging of the flowers. The flowers are then transported to JKIA via refrigerated trucks on a daily basis. Some of the transport companies include KUENHE+NAGEL and Every24. Unfortunately, during the transportation of flowers, some challenges are encountered. These include:

  • Traffic Jams hence delays in flower delivery.
  • Some roads become difficult to access in rainy seasons hence late flower delivery.

To deal with traffic jams, the flowers are transported to JKIA at night when the roads are not congested.

Mostly, flower pests are not a big issue for these flower companies are constantly spraying their flowers.

All flower farms in Mt Kenya region have their own staff welfare and a SACCO. The welfare airs the workers grievances to the management. The SACCO enables the company’s workers to save some money in it. Every year, these workers receive dividends depending on what they have saved in the SACCO. Internal audits are frequently conducted so that risks can be identified and assessed giving time for the bound action plan to be undertaken.

These flower farms also participate in the Fair trade, Lewa Marathon and also in wildlife conservation in Laikipia. They also take part in philanthropic activities such as child care and offering scholarships.

news@hortinews.co.ke

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