Kenya’s floriculture sector key in driving economic growth

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A new book, Africa’s Competitiveness in the Global Economy Report 2018, puts  Kenya’s flower industry among the leading players in the world’s fast-growing and dynamic  export business, playing in the leagues of Netherlands, Colombia, Ecuador and Ethiopia, commonly referred to as  The Big Five in the world’s floriculture industry.

By GEORGE ACHIA

July 20,2018, Nairobi. Kenya’s ambition to become a newly industrialized upper middle-income country is enshrined in Vision 2030. The delivery of this target is driven by a series of five-year medium term plans. The third medium plan (MTPIII) will strive to move the economy towards achieving 10 percent economic growth rate target by the end of the plan period in 2022. This growth rate is hinged on three pillars including economic, social and political.

The agriculture sector is one of the sectors under the economic pillar that is intended to drive the country’s economic growth rate by the end of the MTPIII. It comprises of industrial crops, food crops, floriculture, livestock and fisheries, and employs such factors of production as land, water and farmer institutions.

For Kenya to achieve its vision 2030 goal of agriculture maintaining and sustaining a 10 per cent GDP contribution in the country, these sub- sectors must grow to ensure this contribution is achieved.

Specifically, the floriculture sub-sector has been pivotal in boosting the growth of the agriculture sector.  Recently, the horticulture industry performed well, increasing its earnings by 41 per cent to 305billion in 2017 from 216 billion in 2016, employing an estimated 500,000 people, thus placing the sector among the top economic drivers of the economy.

The success of the cut-flower sector in Kenya has been attributed to the country’s favourable and stable climate, access to large import markets, fertile land, abundant water and experienced workforce in floriculture.

These factors, according to Africa’s Competitiveness in the Global Economy Report 2018, put Kenya’s flower industry among the leading players in the world’s fast-growing and dynamic flower export business, playing in the leagues of Netherlands, Colombia, Ecuador and Ethiopia, commonly referred to the big five in the world’s floriculture industry.

The growth in this sector has been gradual and steady, occasioned with challenges.  Kenya emerged as a key producer in the world floriculture market in the late 1980s, with exports of 10,946 tonnes by 1988, which increased to 86, 480 tonnes by 2006, 120,220 by 2010 and 133, 685 by 2016.

According to the report, of the 110 varieties of flowers farmed in Kenya and exported to over 60 destinations globally, the most popular roses (85.6%), carnations (2.5%) and alstroemeria (0.73%).

Despite the bloom in the sector and the robust global competitiveness, the flower industry has seen its own share of challenges, including political instability, economic crises, drought, high freight costs and heavy rains.

To achieve the global competitiveness for Kenya’s flower sector,   Kenya Flower Council (KFC), has been involved in production and marketing of the sector. KFC aims at promoting economic, social and political interests of the floriculture industry through active participation in the determination and implementation of policies governing sustainable development of the sector. The body works directly with members who are either producers (direct production of flowers and ornamentals) or associate members (suppliers of products and services in the industry)

Among the key producers who have contributed for the growth of the sector is Oserian Company Limited. The company sits on 200 hectares of land set aside for cut-flowers and exports one million rose stems every day. Other players include Finlay Flower and Tambuzi Limited.

To ensure the future bloom of the Kenyan flower industry, the sector is already aligning its operations to link its competitiveness to environmental sustainability practices and social standards established in the European markets and other regions globally, as defined by 3Ps – People, Planet and Profit – meeting the current needs in the sector without interfering with the future needs.

How the industry best manages these resources (3Ps) will greatly determine how it will compete with other markets to achieve organizational growth and success.

For further information and purchasing of the book contact:

Prof. Abel Kinoti, Bcom, MBA, Dcom, FHEA-UK

Dean, School of Business

Riara University

P.O. Box 49940-00100

Nairobi, Kenya

Tel : +254-703 038 420/703 038 421/703 038 000

Fax: +254-20-252-5789

Cell: +254- 733-722-479

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