Valentine’s Day Special

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Sarah Muna of Nairobi Flower Vendors Association presents a bouquet of flowers to Nairobi Town Clerk Philip Kisia at City Hall to mark this year’s Valentine Day

The City of Nairobi is set to establish flower kiosks in major streets as it seeks to adopt the practice of  international  flower consuming towns especially in Europe.

Nairobi Town Clerk Philip Kisia said yesterday   that the city council had identified spots where flower kiosks would be established to sell the produce all day, and possibly round-the-clock, and the first of the shops would be launched today as the world marks Valentine’s Day, celebrated with flowers, and  the single most important day  in the calendar of flower business.

He was responding to a proposal  by the Flower Vendors Association through the Kenya Flower Council  (KFC) to designate spots where consumers can easily access flowers while at the same time beautifying the city, when he met them in his office at city hall, Nairobi. He was presented with a bouquet of roses by the vendors as a showcase of their labour.

KFC chief executive officer Jane Ngige welcomed the development which she says will not only promote local consumption of flowers but also announce to the world that Kenya is the major flower producing country.

“Despite our being the world’s number one producer of flowers, there is nothing that brands us as such, which is what the flower kiosks are seeking to achieve”,  she said.  Kisia said the kiosks will also act as tour guides, where the council will place maps for guiding visitors.

The vendors will also be classified as traders unlike in the past when they  have been treated as hawkers, paying about  Sh 25 per day and subjected to running battles with council askaris. “ Henceforth, the flower vendors will pay an annual trading license,” said Mr Kisia.

The kiosks have been developed by the Kenya Industrial Research and  Development Institute and the United States International University.

Operators of the flower kiosks will be expected to keep the streets clean and well decorated,  which Mr Kisia said was value addition to the council’s efforts to beautify and clean the city streets. “All those flowers in Europe’s streets are from Kenya, and this is the first time we too are going to see our flowers in our streets”, he said, terming it ridiculous that we should be seeing flowers only on Valentine’s  day.

Mrs Ngige added that by parading flowers on the streets, “we can encourage impulse buying even  by those not thinking about  it by making the produce available”.

The kiosks will be fitted with coolers to extend the life of a flower, and after Nairobi, the other towns – Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu  will be decorated.  Plans are at advanced stages to open a flower wholesale market in Westlands, Nairobi where growers will be offloading produce making it easier for vendors to source for  them.

Nairobi has about 127 flower vendors who have received training to upgrade into micro enterprises that  have joined statutory bodies like  the National Hospital Insurance Fund and the National Social Security Fund.

Jane Ngige, chief  Executive Officer , Kenya Flower Council: 0720 692477