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The second edition of the International Flower Trade Expo (IFTEX) Nairobi will take place on June 5-7 2013, at the Visa Oshwal Centre, Westlands, Nairobi. HortiNews had a chat with Dick van Raamsdonk, President HPP, and the organizer of the event.

1. After staging the first IFTEX in Nairobi last year, you were happy with the outcome, one of the reasons why the second edition of the event is back this year. What would you attribute this success to considering you indicated the inaugural show exceeded expectations?

The fact that Kenya is the only country in the world where the production area of flowers structurally increases is a strong indicator that the sector -overall- is in a good shape. Moreover, growth in a worldwide economical turmoil shows that the sector has to row against the stream and still moves forward. This cannot mean anything different than strength for even more growth when coming into calm waters. Therefore IFTEX is an excellent instrument for the Kenyan floriculture Industry to support and accelerate this growth.

2. What was your most ‘unexpected’ occurrence at the show, e.g. looking at the following list, did you expect a smaller number?

No, I did not expect a lower number of exhibitors. I was 100% confident that this trade fair could not fail and would be a “full house”. The only big unknown factor was how to convince the Kenyan growers that this would work if they just would believe in it. Never before in my 28 year career of organising flower trade expos anywhere else in the world, I had so many excellent building parts in my hand to create the almost ‘perfect’ flower trade exhibition, I am even tempted to call it. Being a flower trade expo specialist, I got very excited the moment I added it all up and suddenly visualized the ideal place for an African flower trade expo could, would and should be Kenya and Kenya only. I then decided to hold as many meetings with the growers as needed until they would be convinced to give it a try and take a booth. It was somehow still unexpected though when I finally I managed to get enough on board.

3. Even though it was the first time for such event in Kenya, a total of 140 companies exhibited. Out of the total, 93 were Kenyan companies which included 61 local growers. Kenya Flower Council(KFC) also facilitated in making the expo a success by mobilizing its producer members who included Magana Flowers, Sian Roses, Finlays Horticulture, Mweiga Blooms, Maridadi Flowers, Oserian, Xpressions, P. J. Dave flowers, Black Petals, Harvest Ltd, Elbur Flora, Isinya ,Mosi, Simbi Roses, Desire Flora, Mt. Elgon, Kreative Roses, Primarosa, and Vegpro Group. KFC Associate members included Bayer Crop Science, Elgon Kenya, Koppert Biological, Syngenta, De Ruiter East Africa, Dipchem East Africa, FloraHolland, Schreurs,Hortilink, Kuehne + Nagel , The Flower Hub Kenya, ad UFO Supplies. Do you expect a bigger IFTEX 2013? Why, if yes?

Yes, IFTEX will definitely grow in its second edition this year. Not only because of many more Kenyan growers who want to exhibit this time, but also last year exhibitors wanting to display in bigger stands. Furthermore IFTEX is bound to become a regional event, hosting growers from other African flower producing countries that are too small on its own to hold such event. And as already mentioned, I expect IFTEX to become the Africa’s flower grower trade fair within a few years, becoming the sourcing market for the world for any African fresh cut flowers.

4. What can you single out as the most outstanding feature of IFTEX Nairobi in terms of exhibitions and visitors?

The only event where you can meet all flower growers at the same time and place, together with its buyers.

5. When you first spoke on IFTEX Nairobi, you said it had potential to grow into the largest flower fair in the world. What are the other big events in the world, and why do you foresee Kenya beating them in days ahead.

The other big cut flowers trade events are in Ecuador, Colombia, Germany and Holland. Kenya will soon join this list and become a serious competitor for the number one position. Compare it if you like with the European Cup, South American and the now strong African cup.

6. What kind of feedback did HPP get from those the fair targeted last year? Is it the same group that is expected in 2013? Can you point one good example of something that has happened because of the fair?

Feedback was positive; above expectations and the most important outcome was confidence in the future of this fair. There will be many new international exhibitors as well signing up for this year. Furthermore most, if not all 2012 exhibitors will be present again this year with, in many occasions, bigger sized stands. The most important thing that could have happened in the fair and which actually did happen is the change from doubt in belief that flower buyers did fly in and did attend the expo.

7. What is new in 2013 that was not there in 2012?

The ‘only’ thing that will be new is:  everything more & bigger!!!

8.As an investor in Kenya, what is your view on business climate, what are the most challenging encounters, and how would you

suggest that things be done differently or improved, especially now that the country is headed to getting a new government that needs to focus on economic development and improved lifestyles for its citizens, visitors and investors?

As an investor you need a stable economical and political environment. Only then an investor is willing to keep on investing, especially foreign investors and can a country expect more jobs and consequently a better lifestyle for its citizens.

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