By HAMISH KER
August 18,2017, Nairobi. Environmental Protection and Conservation must be balanced with social and economic factors in order to achieve sustainability. Oserian has farmed in harmony with the region’s flora and fauna for almost half a century.
The Oserian Development Company Ltd is situated in one of Kenya’s most spectacular landmarks – The Great Rift Valley – on the shores of Lake Naivasha.
Oserian translates as “Place of Peace” in the language of the Masai people -the story of Oserian is one that encompasses a passion for beauty and peace. This translates into a love for flowers, and a compelling desire to conserve nature’s riches which are our heritage.
The vision of sustainable enterprise was created by the Zwager family and has now become a part of the philosophy and culture of our people and the community we live amongst.
Oserian farm was developed by Hans and June Zwager, from the late sixties. Flower farming was first introduced to Oserian in 1982 when the Zwager family planted their first crop of purple Statice. Today Oserian is one of the largest and most respected floriculture ventures globally. Peter Zwager who is now the Chairman has steered the technological developments at Oserian farm from the creation of tissue culture laboratories to produce clean plant material such as bananas for small scale farmers to green production systems embracing our natural resources such as Geothermal energy in order to bring natures solutions into the commercial arena.
Oserian pioneered flower farming in Kenya and has played a leading role in creating the global flower markets as we know them today. This publication provides an insight into one of Kenya’s largest flower farms that is also a global model of excellence, which has enabled us to become ‘Champions of Nature’. Oserian farm cultivates over 200 hectares of cut flowers and is one of the world’s largest Fairtrade cut flower producers. Oserian grows today a wide range of cut flowers including roses, statice and spray carnations.
Oserian believes in and demonstrates its commitment towards its people through innovative projects which aim to continually improve the standard of living and quality of life of our people and our surrounding communities. We appreciate that we are only as good as our people and therefore employee and community welfare is therefore key to our sustainability as a business and our natural environment.
The initiatives created by Oserian funded from the sale of ethically traded flowers, include projects to improve health, education, water and sanitation – to name but a few. These developments have enhanced the lives of Oserian employees as well as those from our neighboring communities. Further to our community focus Oserian has dedicated considerable resource to reduce her footprint on the environment by adopting nature’s solutions such as geothermal energy and integrated pest management as well as setting aside habitat to conserve nature on and around the estate.
It is noticeable to the visitor that Oserian is alive with the sights and sounds of nature. Attention is always given to the areas between fields, bordering housing estates and on the roadsides, by encouraging the growth of various native grasses, herbs and shrubs. These areas are important habitats for birds, small mammals, reptiles and a variety of insects. They also act as corridors for the larger species of wildlife.
Oserian encourages its neighboring communities to support reforestation projects. Tree seedlings are donated from the farm every year to the communities for planting, thus ensuring additional growth of more than 10,000 trees each year. Oserian is proud to host many types of indigenous fauna. This includes more than 320 bird species which have been recorded on the estate such as the African Fish Eagle.
Oserian is proud to have created a sense of environmental awareness amongst its people, as well as its neighboring communities. As a result Oserian has been recognised as a ‘Champion of Nature’ by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Oserian has also been a key sponsor of the Oserengoni Wildlife Conservancy which borders the Rift Valley’s Mau Escarpment. The conservancy has a number of projects in place to protect grevy zebra, colobus monkey, leopard, wild hunting dog and the aardvark – all of which are species classified at different levels of endangerment.
The unique Oserian philosophy of “Flowers 4 life” is key to creating the balance we need by creating the value from the business that supports people’s needs by using natures resources but at the same time conserves and protects our precious ecosystem for future generations.