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Naivasha tourism now in full bloom

A visit to Oserian grounds, the home of flowers for farmers and other stakeholders in Naivasha, proved a worthwhile assignment for me. Eager to learn more on the industry, I was not in the least disappointed. It was a nice day to be out of the office.

The drive to the town which has been associated with anti-alcoholism crusader, John Mututho, was interesting as I met up with journalists and other stakeholders in the industry and we shared in interesting conversations.Alexander Hamilton said, “He who stands for nothing will fall for anything. Naivasha is the land of roses and carnations, fish and hippos, egrets and hawks, lions and antelopes….

From the get-go of meeting Ms Jane Ngige, chief executive officer of Kenya Flower Council, I knew I would return to Nairobi changed. Jane is a petit woman with a wide smile and a welcoming heart. She is also a Leeds University graduate and well-versed with the flower industry. For the ordinary Kenyan, the flower industry is a saturation of white owners or settlers and a domain for the rich.

Talking to many of the representatives from various industries that came to the Annual General Meeting on June 28, I realised that this industry is capital intensive. And just like in real estate, a person with interest in the same can pump in cash and make profits. Jane is as passionate as her counterpart, Richard Fox, an Englishman keen on the industry and also chairman of the Kenya Flower Council.

Before my visit, it was easy to ask myself, “Why flowers?” First, I was surprised to see almost 50 or so attendees to an AGM which composed of African, Whites and Asian investors. One could observe these were a clique of colleagues and stakeholders from various walks of life doing a business they were passionate about – flowers!

A flower’s appeal is in its contradictions – so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect.- Adabella Radici. The shortness of a flower’s life is perhaps what causes such intrigue to the industry. It’s a luxurious commodity, yet so in need of care. Every part of the process from growing flowers to selling them in the country of for export is intricate.

Naivasha, I learnt, has over 100 flower farms…among them Lex Creators, Finlays, Schreurs Naivasha Limited and Oserian who had provided their grounds for the AGM. “Just like with other industries, flower farming suffers hiccups along the way,” says Jane. Economic problems hit the industry when the weather is unfavourable; yet even with the volume of flowers remaining the same for a season of time, flower farming is not for the faint-hearted.

“A profusion of pink roses bending ragged in the rain speaks to me of all gentleness and its enduring,” says William Carlos Williams in The Collected Later Poems. The industry has endured its ups and downs yet does best in Kenya during Mothers’ Days, Valentines’ Days and generally through occasions both happy and sad – weddings, church ceremonies as well as during the demise of loved ones.

Listening to the expectations of stakeholders which included Kenya Manufacturing Association, to Agrochemical companies, the farmers on the ground, creates for the synergy to run such an intense industry. We’re talking of getting flowers to the market after ensuring they are placed in fridges of the right temperatures.

They must be scheduled cargo flights to various parts of the world, and satisfying customer needs is indeed rigorous. The business of the day over, Jane took me other journalists on a tour to Lake Naivasha to show us how wonderfully the waters were overflowing to the vegetation. But not only that, she helped us understand how Lake Oloid’eng, a small salty lake, begun to cause the fresh Naivasha lake to become salty.

Not only is this an adversity to the flowers but also to the fish, which is the Fisheries Ministry jurisdiction. The water in this lake is used by most flower farms to grow their produce. It has four pumps which undergo purifying to ensure the water is user-friendly for the crop. The story of the lakes becoming amalgamated remains an amazing one to onlookers and would make for great information from scientists and ecologists alike.

But I have not begun to tell you what I most enjoyed and was fascinated by in Naivasha. A stretch of riparian reserve is one that abuts or is situated on the banks of a stream or other natural body of water. My fascination was with the beauty of nature there. Wow! Breathtaking is an understatement and I can only agree with William Shakespeare who said, “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

The riparian land by Lake Naivasha has gazelles, dik diks, giraffes, zebra, pelicans and of course the famous flamingoes that will enthrall any visiting tourist. The acacia trees stand majestically in the water, but its only a matter of time before the come down with a thud, owing to the water. That is pitiful albeit inevitable.

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Posted by: The People in Travel and Leisure July 11, 2013


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The taxman has ended the monopoly enjoyed by the Government Printer in supplying it with stationery after the press failed to provide enough documents for facilitating trade with Europe. The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) said it had contracted another printer for the job although it still has a valid contract with the government agency. “KRA decided to contract the services of an alternative reliable supplier. Currently we are in transition and we are following up the Government Printer to supply what is outstanding as we seek the services of an alternative supplier,” said KRA spokesman Keneddy Onyonyi. The Government Printer, located opposite KRA’s Times Tower headquarters on Haile Selasie Avenue, could not be reached for comment as telephones at the facility were not answered. The flower industry says Kenyan exports are under threat following months of the taxman’s failure to supply them with key documents facilitating duty free exports to the European market. The Industry lobby, the Kenya Flower Council (KFC), has written to KRA demanding compensation for members who are losing business. KFC says buyers are increasingly sourcing produce elsewhere which puts the long-term prospects of the industry in jeopardy. Apart from flower imports, Europe is one of Kenya’s most important trading partners, accounting for Sh108.7 billion, behind the East African Community’s Sh134.8 billion. (Read: Shortage of vital document slows down EU exports) Euro 1 and GSP forms are required at the port of entry to facilitate exemption from punitive European taxes. Kenya and other African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries have a long-running non-reciprocal preferential trade currently being renegotiated under the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). “Today I realised we cannot export flowers to some specific European destinations and on seeking an explanation from KRA, they said the Government Printer could not meet demand for the bulk of papers needed daily to facilitate the smooth export of flowers,” said Jane Ngige, the KFC chief executive, last weekend. But KRA maintains that as long as it obtains the official document from the State printer exporters have to wait until it is able to source from the other printers. KFC has complained about the shortage since 2010. Ms Ngige forecast the sector could lose as much as Sh4.5 billion on a monthly basis if the situation is not addressed. She said while in the past importers and shipping agents had given Kenyan exporters temporary exemption in the belief that the situation was temporary, they are now shutting out Kenya goods. Mr Onyonyi said exporters were worsening the situation by buying more than they required in anticipation of a shortage. That means those seeking to export immediately have no forms available. “The truth is that this is inconveniencing to exporters but that is the situation we are in,” said Mr Onyonyi. The forms are also a source of revenue to the KRA. Ms Ngige says the one-page form costs Sh500, meaning KRA may lose millions through failure to supply the documents. “If Kenya cannot supply the flowers, the buyers will be forced to source the product from elsewhere thereby denying the government a lot of revenue besides putting the livelihoods of more than two million people depending on the sector on the line,” she says. The KFC complaint comes days after motor vehicle dealers complained of lack of number plates, a situation that forced KRA to allow cars into the market before they are affixed with the plates. porno adult
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