It is estimated that for the African flower exporters, particularly those in Kenya, one of the world’s largest exporter of cut roses, the cost of logistics is anywhere between 40 to 60 percent of the total cost. This is humongous. Growers and flower exporters in Kenya want a solution to reduce the cost of freight.
At the first ever Flower Logistics Africa conference that just concluded in Nairobi, the key takeaway was to collaborate with every stakeholder in the flower supply value chain to reduce cost, improve efficiencies of flower transport and make Kenya a global flower power that sets global benchmarks in production, transportation and distribution.
Making her keynote address at the inaugural edition of Flower Logistics Africa, organised by Logistics Update Africa, a key Africa focused transport and logistics publication from STAT Media Group, Jane Ngige, the chief executive officer of Kenya Flower Council (KFC) said that the Kenya flower industry need to ensure the ‘A’ quality flower leaving farms reach consumers in all destinations as the same ‘A’ quality.
Conference participants acknowledged that there was the stereotype in Europe about the African flower not being the best quality. This, according to many participants, hinders African flower exporters from getting the best prices at auctions. “Many African growers are at a disadvantage as compared to their counterparts across the globe due to poor infrastructure support here in Kenya,” said Bimal Kantaria, director, Elgon Kenya, while participating in the opening panel discussion.
According to Ngige, flowers from Kenya are going to over 60 different destinations worldwide. “500 tonnes of flower airlifted daily from Kenya,” she added.
At the two-day conference, the discussion was around the huge opportunity to grow the horticulture industry which, according to industry estimates, contributes to 7 percent of export. Participating in a variety of panel discussion, the consensus was that the industry is heavily dependent on Europe and the future lies in discovery of new markets.