Kenyan nursery flooded after extreme rainfall

Due to extreme rainfall in Kenya, part of Van den Berg Roses in Naivasha is flooded. The rain has led to a decrease in production at Kenyan flower nurseries. Not necessarily a bad thing at the moment, as there isn’t enough airfreight capacity anyway.

Due to heavy rainfalls in 2019 and this year, the water level of Lake Naivasha has risen to unprecedented levels. As a result, nurseries on the banks of the lake have been flooded. “15% of our nursery, including 3 houses, is flooded”, reports Arie van den Berg.

He owns Van den Berg Roses, a nursery with 70 ha of roses in Naivasha. “The water levels of the lake have been going up for ten years, but the last few months have been extreme. It should be getting drier now; the rainy season is about to end. But it will take a while for the water to go down.”


According to Richard Kneppers of Kneppers Rozen, the lake hasn’t been this high since 1960. Richard and his brother Jack run Maridadi Flowers in Naivasha. Due to the heavy rains in Kenya, last year and this year, a nature reserve near Naivasha became saturated, which means that the rivers are now taking all the rainwater straight into the lake. The rainy season started very late last year, in June, and it continued to rain for a long time. This year, it started raining again in Kenya in the beginning of March.

“The limit was reached on the night of the 4th of May. We got 120 mm of rain in 3.5 hours that night”, recalls Kneppers. The country was already saturated from all the rain that had been falling from June last year. According to Kneppers, there aren’t too many companies that are affected by the high water levels of Lake Naivasha. He says that Maridadi Flowers has hardly any damage at all.

“We’re a little further, 50 to 100 metres, away from the lake. We’re not facing any major problems. Production has gone down a bit, but I can’t complain about the quality. Perhaps not a top product, but for these humid conditions, it’s good. A customer told me yesterday that there are no issues with quality at the five Kenyan growers that he buys from, and that included us.”

Smaller quantities

Kneppers feels that the decrease in production isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  “There isn’t enough airfreight capacity anyway. Now that it’s started raining, that doesn’t matter too much. I don’t hear growers complaining they need to destroy lots of produce. Everyone is producing smaller quantities now.”

Simon van den Burg of Timaflor is based in Timau, near Mount Kenya. He’s also affected by the rainfall. Van den Burg wrote a blog about it for Floribusiness.

“Here in Timau, it’s also been wet for a long time; I’ve spotted many streams I’d never ever seen before. All our ponds are overflowing, and we had to get the sandbags out at home as well. All this humidity has its impact in the greenhouse too: the disease level is high. But here’s the solution! There’s a shortage of airfreight, so it doesn’t hurt as much when growers cut fewer flowers.”

Click here to read the rest of Simon’s blog.


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