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HomeEditor's PickStory of Scholastica Gikonyo; Post Harvest Manager ,Red Lands Roses

Story of Scholastica Gikonyo; Post Harvest Manager ,Red Lands Roses

Tell us about your journey working at Red Lands Roses

I joined Red Lands Roses in September, 2001. Initially, I had applied for the position of Quality Controller because it had been my designation at my previous job. I was then told that they were not looking to hire for the position at that time. However, there was a position for a Greenhouse Operator. Given my previous experience and even more my desire to work in the flower industry, I took up the offer. Within just three months i was promoted to assistant supervisor. I worked as junior assistant supervisor for one year before being promoted to senior assistant supervisor level which i worked in for five years.

My track record kept speaking for me and before long, I was approached by our then Executive Director, Aldric Spindler. He wanted me to be moved from Production to Post-Harvest.

By this time, I was doing well for myself as an Assistant Head Grower. I was adamant to leave but after much persuation I moved  as Assistant Post-Harvest Manager.

Another farm had been bought around that time, but there was a large margin in terms of quality and quantity as compared to the standards at Red Lands Roses. I was sent over to the new farm where I stayed for three years and massive developments were recorded since I set foot there. Seven months down the line, I was elevated to Pack House Manager.

Red Lands Roses has made big leaps in its expansion. What’s new, and how has the expansion impacted operations at the farm?

Our farm has expanded by fifteen hectares.  The increase has come  with need for more workers. Currently we have 70 people working in the Pack House, and 120 in all the other sections. In just a year after the expansion, our staff in Post-Harvest have increased to 284  from 160. We have staff in senior positions that have worked in the farm for a period going up to twenty years, and going forward we intend to build working relationships with staff we can actually depend on for durations that are just as long. We have been able to create many more employment opportunities especially for people within the Ruiru community, and in turn increasing production. Additionally, we have improved on our staff performance checks to maintain the quality of the work done in the farm.

We have a new  cooling system that enables flowers to be kept at the cold store at two to four degrees Celsius for six to 24 hours depending on the sensitivity of the flowers. 

What are your best and worst days?

The highlight of my work here at the farm is days when set targets are met, for example when an increase in production has been noted. We measure progress on a daily basis and so for me any positive change means the most. Positive remarks from clients who are overly impressed by our service motivates me to keep doing my very best. One such time when we really caught some clients’ eye was the February-March period this year. That was an undoubtedly peak season for us. One other thing that makes my day is bagging high profile clients. My dream is that Red Lands Roses becomes unrivalled globally, and seeing prospective clients of high caliber pay attention to our flowers tells me we are headed in the right direction. We are tapping into markets wider than the European scope, and so far the progress is something to be real proud of.

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