By MURIMI GITARI
April 5,2019, Nairobi. It is a busy day at Oserian Development Company when we catch up with Martin Kabaka, Cargolite Packing Technology representative in Kenya who shows me around the farm of how everyone is busy for the fact that it is Valentine season and mother’s day is also approaching.
Mr. Martin tells me of how they have embarked on transportation of flowers using sea transportation. The means is cost effective in terms of flight cost reduction. The boxes used in transportation of the flowers are designed and defined to fit in containers making it more effective during the transportation and they are also unique with holes on all sides to allow circulation of cold air.
He introduces me to Charles Juma who is the Assistant Manager, Carnation Grading who takes me through the whole process in the farm that entails the transportation of flowers through the sea.
According to Juma, there are new fields for sea flight only with the best quality and weight and the flowers here are harvested at cut stage 1 and 2. These stages are only for sea flight.
“The cast rage of flowers for sea flight is at stage 1 and when harvesting is done they are taken to the packhouse for receiving, separation and grading of these flowers, that is for sea and air flight. The reason as to why there is separation regardless of having specific fields for sea flight flowers is because all flowers in the farm are transported using the same trucks from the farm to the pack house,” Mr. Juma says.
After separation, the sea flight flowers are dipped into a Chlorine solution to kill flower spores that will prevent them fromgerminating during their transportation. The flight takes 30 days before arriving to the destined markets.
The flowers are later on put into a bucket containing AVB Chrystal Solution that contains Silver which impends the solution of ethylene gas produced by flowers. The Silver solution occupies the area to be covered by ethylene gas thus preventing the killing of the flower stem for the 30 days period during transportation. The next step is quality checking and counting the flowers after which they are taken to the cold store. They are chilled and cooled at a room temperature of o.5 degrees overnight. In the morning they are drained from the bucket solution into dry buckets, sleeved and packed into the unique boxes containing holes on all sides for the cool air circulation.
“The flowers are packed in two ways because there are two types of market for these flowers, one market is the Inter-green market where flowers are packed as raw materials and Supa Flora markets where flowers are packed while sleeved,” the Assistant Manager Carnation Grading explains. “All sea flight operations are done in the cold store with the same room temperature. Before packaging, one has to confirm the temperatures using a gadget known as temperature prop and even during the whole transportation, which is in the trucks and in the ship, the temperature has to be at 0.5 degrees,” he adds. The flowers are packed when they receive 1.5 degrees temperature and thereafter strapped.
The boxes are then cooled at the same temperatures of 0.5 degrees and palletized in accordance with the order made by customers.
“The trucks transporting the flowers contain a thermometer to keep the flowers cool and the entire transit of transportation has to be at the 0.5 degrees temperature. The containers that carry the flowers in the ships are also refrigerated whereby the next process is transporting the flowers from Mombasa port to United Kingdom,” Mr. Juma says.
All this process is only for Sea Flight as it does not apply in air flight for flowers.