KENYA - Flower production has fallen by over 20 per cent due to rains that have been pounding Naivasha and its environs.
According to one of the leading flower farms Van Den Berg, the drop has been due to the cold weather.
The farm located along the Moi South Lake Road has a workforce of 1,200 staff and produces over 600,000 roses daily.
According to the farm managing director Johan Remeeus, growers are now feeling the toll of the heavy rains, which have been pounding the lakeside town for a couple of weeks.
“Flowers do well in warm conditions, but due to the cold weather caused by the heavy rains we have seen production fall by around 20 per cent,” he said.
On the market, Mr Remeeus said for the last five years the price of roses had remained constant against a rise in production cost.
He noted that the once-lucrative Russian market is no longer performing well due to its weak currency compared to the Euro, which flower farmers trade in.
“The cost of labour continues to be the biggest challenge in flower production while flower marker in Europe is stable,” he said.
Speaking on the farm, the senior manager admitted that Ethiopia continues to be Kenya’s largest competitor in the region due to subsidies offered by the government.
“We hoped that the just-ended World Trade Organisation meeting would have addressed the issue of subsidies for fair playing ground, but this was never to be,” he said.
Mr Remeeus was, however, quick to note that the cost of electricity had come down in the last two months as promised by the government.
The farm’s human resource manager Mr George Onyango asked the national and county governments to urgently address the issue of lease.
He said this is causing anxiety among many farmers as the 999 lease had expired with some counties threatening to take over the land.