Kenyan grower Hanif Chaudry

’Many growers are flooding the auction with flowers’

Could you tell us about Isinya Roses?
“We’ve got two farms. One is nearby Nairobi, it was established in 2001. This has an acreage of 35 ha. The second farm was founded in 2011 and that one is located in Porini, the area close to the Tanzanian border. This farm is situated at an altitude of 2,865 metres, making it the highest farm in Kenya. It has an acreage of 27.5 ha. Our roses have very large buds – from 5 to 10 cm – and thick stems, that’s how we can compete with Ecuador. Our varieties include Ever Red, and we’re the only cultivator of Rhodos which is the best variety on our farm in Porini.”

Who do you sell your flowers to?
“50% of our produce is sold at the auction in the Netherlands. The other 50% is sold directly on the markets of Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East, Dubai, Kuwait and Qatar. They like large flowers in the Gulf States. In addition to rose, we grow gypsophila, carnation, ruscus and alstroemeria. We’re also experimenting with hydrangea. We don’t want to be entirely dependent on rose, so we’re cultivating other products to spread the risk. The fact that we offer a wide range is also better for our customers.”

How is it going?
“Auction prices weren’t very good during the last two weeks of October. There were too many flowers. Production is typically low at that time, but this year, production was high. The problem is that many growers are flooding the auction with their flowers. They’re simply dumping their products there. When we can foresee low auction prices, we send a maximum of 8,000 stems. That’s what everybody should do. And the competition from Ethiopia is strong. The flowers from Ethiopia are cheaper, but Kenya offers better quality. But we’ve noticed that buyers have been changing their focus from Ethiopia to Kenya because of the problems in Ethiopia. We hope that the prices will increase soon.”

What are your plans for the future?
“We want to expand the farm in Porini to 35 ha, because there’s a steady demand for our flowers. We’d like to increase our production of rose as well as of other flowers. We’d also like to increase our direct sales as that provides a better turnover. Another advantage of direct trade is that you build up a direct relationship with your customers. We met a few of our auction customers at IFTF in Vijfhuizen. They’re now interested in trading directly with us.”

About: Hanif Chaudry
Company: Isinya Roses
Place: near Nairobi and in Porini (Kenya)
Acreage: 35 ha + 27,5 ha
Products: rose, gypsophila, carnation, ruscus and alstroemeria