More than 910 workers will lose their jobs in the next six months as multinational firm James Finlay completes the sale of its last flower farm in Kericho.
Last week, the tea and coffee producer announced that it had sold the Lemotit farm in Kipkelion East to flower firm Black Tulip for an undisclosed amount.
James Finlay Kenya Managing Director Simeon Hutchinson said the company will now focus on the beverage sector.
Finlay had earlier closed down two flower farms – Chemire and Tarakwet, blaming the closure on low international prices of cut flowers in the European market, where Kenya sells over 60 percent of its horticulture produce.
Lemotit farm produces roses and cut flowers for the United Kingdom and other European countries on 132 acres of its 1,154-acre land. The farm has 910 workers on its payroll.
“The full takeover is expected to be completed in the next six months following a go-ahead given by the regulatory bodies,” Mr Hutchinson said in the statement.
The firm says all employees will be declared redundant and paid their final dues in full.
The Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) Kericho branch secretary Dickson Sang said on Monday that the union has been notified of the planned change of guard in the business ownership.
“We have about 1,000 workers who are members of the union at Lemotit flower farm, and we are interested to know the fate of their employment with the takeover by the Black Tulip Group. This is a big number of employees whose jobs are at risk,” said Mr Sang.
He expressed hope that the new company would retain the employees.
Black Tulip owns Golden Tulip and Laurel farms in Ol Kalau, Tulaga and Sunfloritech farms in Naivasha, Batian in Timau, and Eco Roses in Limuru and Salgaa.
Its chief executive officer Mohan Choudhery said the acquisition of Finlay Flowers is part of its expansion strategy.
He said detailed discussions would take place in the coming weeks with union representatives, employees and company representatives on the transition details.