French lockdown major blow to Kenyan floriculture

Thousands of farm worker are on the verge of losing their jobs due to the lockdown in France. That is the expectation of Kenya Flower Council.

The trade association urges the Kenyan government to urgently engage approach the French government to lift restrictions on French florists and supermarkets. Kenyan Flower Council hopes that the lifting of the restrictions will safeguard jobs for thousands workers in Kenyan floriculture.

Kenya Flower expects the lockdown in France, which lasts until December 1, to have a major impact on nurseries in Kenya. France is the fourth largest market for Kenya after the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany. In 2018, Kenya exported € 6.36 million worth of flowers to this country.

Reduced salaries and manpower

In 2016, Kenya and France signed a trade agreement worth € 250 million to encourage French exporters to work closely with Kenyan exporters to promote Kenyan exports to France. A second lockdown is hampering exports to France.

The Kenyan growers were hit hard by the first lockdown between March and August. Growers destroyed millions of stems at the farms. Huge losses resulted. Consequencently, farms reduced salaries and manpower, used minimum spray and fertigation, and put some plants and varieties on rest for weeks till the demand picked up.

Demand for flowers as been picking up in most destinations. “However, the ongoing second lockdown in Europe will definitely erode gains made by the sub-sectdor as set it back downhill. Traders have already reduced their orders and prices on the auction have dropped by 20%”,said Clement Tulezi, CEO of Kenya Flower Council.

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