Flower firms are now employing more people than they did in the pre-Covid period, signalling the continued recovery of the sector that was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
A survey of flower farms carried out by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) ahead of last week’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting showed that the number of workers currently employed exceeds the headcount in February 2020 by 13 percent.
The flower farms have raised the number of workers in anticipation of a high demand ahead of the peak season starting with Valentine’s Day later this month.
Many of workers had been put on unpaid leave during the peak of the pandemic in April and May 2020.
“Relative to the employment numbers by the farms in February, the survey findings show that employment has recovered and exceeded the pre-Covid (February) levels, averaging 113 per cent in December 2020 and January 2021, compared to 87 per cent in November 2020, and 69 per cent in April,” said CBK in the survey.
“In December and January, the respondent farms confirmed to have increased their employees in readiness for the peak season that runs from January to May.”
According to the CBK survey, the flower sector employs over 500,000 people, including over 100,000 engaged directly in flower farms, and impacts over two million livelihoods indirectly.
The survey covered eight major flower farms in Naivasha and two in Nakuru, and was administered to chief executives and senior managers who have good knowledge of the activities and performance in the sector.
The growing employment rate in the flower industry indicates the continued trend of recalling or hiring new workers buoyed by resumption of operations and gradual economic rebound.
The Markit Stanbic Bank Kenya’s Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) — a monthly measure of private sector activity — shows the rate of new hires in January was fastest since October last year, driven by rising demand for goods and services.