Flowers whether given as a gift or bought for a vase in the house always manages to awe and elicit smiles from the most unlikely of individuals. And to prolong their life in a vase where most of them end up is Vaselife Africa, a company dedicated to preserving these wonderful plants for the longest time possible, in the best condition and emitting the same aura.
According to the General Manager for Vaselife Africa Antonio Menezes, the demand for quality flowers keeps increasing by the day across the globe and so is the demand for quality post-harvest products which can guarantee this, and Vaselife is the answer to that.
The company which is barely four years into the country offer post-harvest products for the wide range of flower farms which exist in Kenya, including flower food, with pocket friendly prices. The company works hand in hand with Dilpack Kenya to ensure that clients get everything needed to package and preserve flowers under the same roof. In this arrangement Dilpack provides packaging materials while Vaselife provides post-harvest care products for flowers.
“We are a small company giving big companies a run for their money. Our products are top-notch and we strive to provide a simpler and easier way of doing business by providing a “one-stop” shopping solution which also drives out any unnecessary costs,” Menezes said.
He says Vaselife offers products which are not only of high quality but also affordable. The flower food, which is mainly a product for the consumer markets, comes in sachets for 0.5 or 1 litre of water. This product comes in powder and liquid forms, both clear and unclear. The company, which also offers Fairtrade products, has outlets in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda but its largest market is here in Kenya.
“Our products do not contain Calcium Hypochlorite and Aluminum Sulphate. The latter is harmful for the environment and can cause irritation to workers, the former evaporates easily due to the temperatures in Kenya, thereby losing effectiveness,” he says.
He says the company has eliminated some of the components present in some other products which offer the same services, in order to protect the environment and also to enable the product to be recyclable for at least five days before discarding the solution.
He says Kenya is an exciting country and has a rich heritage which should be protected at all cost hence the need to reject harmful products which will eventually display adverse impacts to the environment.
Their flagship product is the Vaselife Universal Post-harvest Treatment which is the product used on the ground by the farms. This product lowers the pH to a certain level of between 3,5 to 5,5. This level of pH is ideal to prevent the growth of bacteria and also stimulates water uptake, thereby prolonging the vase life of a flower.
Apart from offering quality products António pays personalized visits to new, existing and prospective clients, the various flower farms around the country, and gives them free post-harvest audits with an in-depth analysis. He also gives advice on how to handle the flowers from start to finish, taking into account the importance of basic hygiene, which can make all the difference in the lifespan of a flower in the vase. Their unparalleled experience and expertise translates into offering customers the full range of services needed to help improve the quality of the flowers and reduce the wastage throughout the whole flower chain.
He says a stable flower variety treated with Vaselife post-harvest products can last up to two weeks and he has tested with different varieties from different farms before coming to this conclusion.
Though not all farms embrace, since convincing a client can take between 6 and 9 months, their exceptional services ensures that they leave an indelible mark in each one of them. He adds that
The company is also in the process of constructing a full-fledged factory here in Kenya to be launched soon, which will be used to manufacture and test their line of products.
“The factory will have a state of the art testing room which conforms to the international standards. In this factory we will establish a laboratory complete with webcams for testing and monitoring the flowers,” says António.
The webcam will enable clients to log-on and see their flowers being tested anytime they wish.
By Ann Ndung’u