Jane Ngige of the Kenya Flower Council said at IFTF that it might initially be problematic if flowers from Kenya no longer reach the Netherlands. But in the long run, she actually sees some opportunities. She feels that the current developments are in line with the way in which the trade has developed.
Jane Ngige has noticed that the international flower industry is growing and moving away from FloraHolland. She said that there’s more and more direct trade, which doesn’t involve the auction. According to Ngige, this development should motivate the industry to find other logistic routes than via the Netherlands.
“Flowers don’t have to land in the Netherlands. There are plenty of other places in the world. Many flowers are shipped from Kenya to Germany. There’s no reason not to do that directly.”
Another example she mentioned concerned two derelict airports that she saw in Italy once. “Why doesn’t FloraHolland use those airports for shipping Kenyan flowers to Russia? Or why not transport those flowers directly from Kenya to Russia? It’s time to review the logistics of flowers. There’s more direct sales these days and more ready-made products. It could be an opportunity for FloraHolland.”
Ngige did highlight that Kenya might have a problem with direct flights between Nairobi and Amsterdam, operated by airlines that don’t have one of those two cities as their hub. By refusing direct flights to them Kenya could help Kenya Airways to develop its cargo division.
“I don’t think that those policies are there yet. But Kenya Airways does want to expand their cargo division and they need space for that. Actually, it isn’t just Kenya Airways that wants to develop its cargo division, the same is true for some other regional airlines.”
Direct flights to the USA
With regards to transporting flowers directly from Kenya to the United States, this isn’t an option yet. “We expect that it will be possible from April next year”, said Ngige. “Miami is the most common flower destination in the USA. It provides the necessary infrastructure for further distribution throughout the United States and Canada.”
Ngige is aware that airfreight from Kenya to Miami is expensive. Will Kenyan flowers still be able to compete with flowers from South America? Other destinations don’t have any inspection services, distribution channels and cold chain. “But nothing is static”, was Ngige’s response. Kenyan flower growers will be exhibiting at trade shows in Chicago and Atlanta next year.