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A new label for flowers

Kenyan flower growers have been granted an international label that recognizes good environmental and social practices.
Now growers with a Kenya Flower Council silver certification or higher can register with Fair Flowers Fair Planters (FFP), which partners with more than 4,000 European flower vendors.
Growers who register stand to benefit financially since the FFP relationship opens the market to consumers interested in sustainable products. Growers may also gain a marketing boost, since they can now claim their operations adhere to strict labour and environmental standards.
“We are putting in a lot of effort
on the social and environmental standards and we should be able to capitalize on these efforts in the marketplace,” said Jane Ngige, CEO of the KFC.
The flower council and FFP formally signed their partnership agreement in August at a meeting at the Norfolk Hotel. FFP will rely on the flower council’s certification programme, although they have also requested that representatives from NGOs and trade unions ac-company KFC auditors who inspect and certify flower farms.
Growers at the meeting said the FFP label seemed a good public relations tool, at least one that would be worth more than the 50 to 200 Euro registration fee. Membership is good for one year, and during that year Kenyan flowers can be sold through FFP-supported auction houses and retailers.
FFP has relationships with retailers in 10 European countries. These retailers sell both flowers with and without the FFP label, but the FFP claims that their sustainability label attracts many European consumers. For Kenya’s growers, this wide reach means that the new label could have more strength than a KFC certification alone.
International recognition
“We must attach ourselves to the labels that are recognized internationally,” said Erastus Mureithi, the chairman of the Kenya Flower Council.
To secure the FFP label, growers must first attain a KFC silver certificate. Then, FFP registration becomes an option. Growers pay the FFP fee, and then gain access to FFP’s retail partners and the label certifying the
grower’s farm as both environmentally and socially conscious.
Growers are required to register on the FFP website, which FFP uses to track growers and potentially revoke the membership of those who are not following the rules.
At the meeting, FFP representatives sold the label as an important barrier to negative publicity. Apart from disarming critics, the new la-bels could have political value.
The agreement with the internationally recognized FFP could weak¬en allegations that growers dam¬age the environment and mistreat workers just as the industry makes its entreaties to government.
Since the FFP-KFC agreement came into effect, those growers who already have a KFC silver certi-fication should be able to apply for membership immediately.
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