Kenyan grower Juliet Kiboro-Kamuya,

‘We’ve doubled in size in three years time’

What kind of company do you have?
“We specialise in different types of summer flowers. Hypericum is our most important product; we’ve got five different varieties. In addition, we grow gypsophila, phlox, bupleurum, ammi, anigozanthos, limonium and zantedeschia. We are currently also experimenting with cut cymbidium. Let’s see what the market thinks of it. Our farm has an acreage of 20 ha and is located in Subukia, nearby Nakuru.”

How’s it going?
“In recent years, prices have been stable. They’re not too bad, we can’t complain. We sell everything at the auction in the Netherlands. But we’re now trying to get some direct sales as well. We believe that a direct market might be better. It would really help with production planning and direct trade offers more security, too. It would make us less dependent on the auction’s fluctuating prices. We exhibited at the IFTF fair for the first time and made contact with quite a few interested parties; this year we’re going to exhibit at the trade show in Las Vegas. We’ll still continue our auction membership though. We’re experimenting with six new types of hypericum and we want to find out whether there’s a market for them. The auction is a good place to gage this.”

What are your plans for the future?
“We’ve been doing this for ten years now; the last couple of years were characterised by a considerable growth and we’d like to expand further. We’ve doubled in size in three years time.”
Is Kenya still a good country to grow flowers?
“Floriculture has always been big in Kenya. Ethiopia has become more important the last few years. But last year, the political situation was really having an impact on companies. In comparison, Kenya is a stable country. Growers have stayed on here. The conditions and the climate are good. We are based in the Rift Valley and we haven’t really been affected by extreme weather conditions. Well, the currency exchange rates have an impact on us of course. In February last year, the euro went down; when that happens our turnover is lower. Our advantage is that we grow summer flowers. There are so many rose growers, but there aren’t too many summer-flower growers in Africa. Our competition comes from South America and Israel. But there’s still room for growth.”