article courtesy Floral Daily
Last February, Clement Tulezi succeeded Jane Ngige as CEO of the Kenya Flower Council. There are plenty of challenges and opportunities ahead for the new chief executive. A major focus for the organization and its members in the coming years will be sustainability. We spoke to Clement about this important topic for Kenyan growers.
When the Kenya Flower Council was initiated in 1996, two Codes of Practice were formulated: the Silver code of practice and Gold standard. In February 2013, the two code of practice were merged and renamed as “Flowers and Ornamental Sustainability Standard”. It was then launched and used for audits and certification of the producers beginning the same month. According to Clement, "the standard is critical in the achievement of some of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at a local level."
The Kenya Flower Council code of practice was formulated to enable producers from Kenya to comply with market requirements, local legislation and other emerging requirements, especially with regard to the protection and conservation of the natural environment through use of integrated pest management practices.
Afterwards, it was also found out that it was important to address the social challenges that were arising in the industry. The current standard now has chapters covering Human Resource management, Hygiene Health and Safety, Crop Production Processes, Post-harvest process, Protection and Conservation of the Environment, Maintenance and Servicing of Machinery and Equipment, and Training of the employees. Hence, the standard is a farm management and monitoring tool addressing the whole production process of flowers and ornamentals.
The Kenya Flower Council Flowers and Ornamentals Sustainability Standard can result in the award of either Silver or Gold certification. Silver is required for all members of The Kenya Flower Council, while Gold is voluntarily for producers who comply with additional clauses in the standard over and above those required for Silver. Clement says it's encouraging "that the KFC Silver has been benchmarked against the KS1758 - a national standard that is mandatory for all horticultural exporters. All Silver certified grower/exporters automatically comply with KS1758."
Opportunities to increase sustainability
The CEO of KFC points out that there are already many sustainability initiatives undertaken by Kenyan growers. Examples are the use of solar energy, harvesting irrigation water from greenhouse rooftops, and recycling drain water in the hydroponic flower production system.
There are still opportunities to improve sustainability, however. Clement: "I see improvements in water use, energy, environment conservation, habitat enhancement, soil conservation, use of less plant protection products by use of integrated pest management systems, among others in terms of pushing the percentages upwards."
So how should growers go about doing this? "Producers should set out SMART objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and rational that are reviewed on year on year basis to ensure continual improvement on environment social and economic aspects, e.g. fertilizer, plant protection products etc. as required by the Flowers and Ornamentals Sustainability Standard."
Clement says the goal is to push for "the ultimate adoption of the KFC label as the preferred standard for product from Kenya by the market. This will reduce the burden of multiple certifications that results in higher costs of doing business."
For the future, KFC plans on continuing to improve the Flowers and Ornamentals Sustainability Standard to address more sustainability agendas.