Don't we all simply adore Valentine’s Day? The day when love, romance and friendship is celebrated all over the world. Besides the poetic romantism surrounding it, these are peak days for everyone in the floriculture value chain.
The Kenyan Floriculture Industry is a flourishing one with Kenya Flower Council estimating that for every 10 stems sold in Europe, three are from Kenya. In this regard, Kenyan reds are expected to perform well during this romantic season. Days before February 14th, rose growers looking to cash-in had already started flushing their reds so that they could have enough stems to meet the demand. This is the time of the year when most Kenyan rose growers/exporters make about 30% of their total annual sales.
“There is a surprise increase in demand this time of the year compared to 2015,” says Gerjan Telleman, Owner and CEO at Fresco Flowers. We spoke to Gerjan a few days before Valentines, and his sentiments reflected the general optimism and good expectations shared by most growers and breeders in Kenya. He noted that the rise in demand for fresh roses was indictive of the industry's growth in both quality and sufficiency in supply.
"This year Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday, this has also prompted some people to place their orders much earlier, hence higher demand days before 14th.
“Although some older African commercial varieties still enjoy popularity, we’ve also witnessed an increased interest for new, top quality varieties by trade,” he adds. “A good example would be Mon Amour from Timaflor Roses which is already a very promising variety.”
Gerjan foresees better stem prices this season, but he is also quick to point out that the best performing roses would still be the ones that have over time shown good consistency in supply in the market. Besides the auctions, Fresco is currently selling their biggest bulk of African roses to direct markets such as FleuraMetz and Bloomways in Germany.
The Company represents some of Africa’s biggest rose growers including: Timaflor, Lolomarik, Kisima, Ol-Njorowa, Mt. Kenya flowers, Rift Valley Roses, Linssen Roses, Alani and NIRP. Gerjan and his team have over the past decade been market leaders among flower packers with a seamless consistency driven by a proactive response to market changes regarding supply and technology.
“Our mission is to provide as many customers as possible in a regular and reliable way with fresh and top quality roses in proper packaging. This we accomplish, among others, by using modern machinery, creating good working conditions and being focused on quality.” says Gerjan.
The top-selling red roses under the Fresco stable are Upper Class grown by Linsenn Roses and Timaflor, El Toro grown by Lolomarik and Ol-Njorowa, Red Ribbon grown by Ol-Njorowa, Madam Red grown by Kisima Roses and Red Torch which is grown by Lolomarik, Rift Valley Roses and Timaflor.
In general, Gerjan expects the roses Upper Class, Red Naomi, Freedom, Grand Prix and Rhodos to be the ultimate winners with regards to demand.
KENYAN RED ROSES
Price estimations from most quaters had put the Kenyan red rose at an average 30 euro cents and above for a 40 cm stem while the prices of the other colored roses might remain at an average 15 euro cents a stem. We engaged several African breeders on their top Red Rose varieties and why they thought these varieties would be impressive choices for florists and other end buyers this season.
Red Alert by Nirp International
Owing to her uniqueness, Red Alert is a very well known name in the red roses segment. The rose has a strong BRIGHT RED colour, classic opening and stays at the vase for up to 14 days. These are the distinct qualities that make her quite a favorite not only this season but all year round. Currently, the rose is handled at the auction by Gerjan and his team at Fresco Flowers, and also sold to direct markets in the USA and the Middle East by two different growers.
Other reds in the NIRP assortment that are yet to be introduced commercially in the market include: Red Pearl, Privilege, Cabernet, Garden Red and Party Red.
Red Naomi! by Schreurs East Africa
This year, Schreurs East Africa had the African Red Naomi! make its anticipated commercial debut into the market. According to Schreurs East Africa MD, Haiko Backer, the African Red Naomi shares similar qualities to it’s Dutch counterpart which has over the years enjoyed much prominence as one of the best luxury reds in the market. Everyone is eager to see how the rose is received in the market and the Valentine’s season would be a good test-run for the variety.
“Red Naomi! is a beautiful rose with good stem length and bud size. She has a large head with a high petal count, a nice and unique subtle fragrance and a perfect vase life lasting up to a fortnight. Red Naomi promises to be a leader in the red roses segment,” says Haiko.
Ever Red and Rhodos by Royal De Ruiter East Africa
A new commercial introduction, Royal De Ruiter’s Ever Red in grown in a high altitude region by AAA growers. Ever Red is a ‘‘Super Premium’’ level flower which the company believes will attract great market inception. The rose has a velvet red hue, good length, vaselife and head size.
Rhodos on the other hand has already well established itself in the market as a premium variety and is currently grown exclusively by PJ Dave in idyllic high altitude. According the breeders, the rose looks set to maintain and attain a growing dynamic market share that will see further demand stimulated across the trade. Rhodos has very impressive headsize and good stemlength. Rhodos’ unpacking and other strategic solution at the auctions is done by Optimal Connection. Other reds to look out for by Royal De Ruiter include Sentimento, Furiosa and Red Calypso.
Monte Carlo by Jan Spek Rozen
A beautiful and large velvet red rose that is well established on the auction as a premium flower. Monte Carlo grows long stems and has good production.
Revolution by Olij Breeding
Revolution was among Olij’s 2015 introductions and has received good response from the market. The flower is a perfect choice for Valentines with her catchy red colour, good stem-length and beautiful classic opening.