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Commodities

Amsterdam sale boost for Kenya flower growers

Workers at Molo River roses flower farm in Rongai
Workers at Molo River roses flower farm in Rongai, Nakuru. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Amsterdam flower auction has resumed after closure that resulted from Covid-19, offering a lifeline for Kenyan producers who saw their volumes fall sharply due to the lockdown of European economies at the height of the pandemic outbreak.

The slow season has seen Oserian — Kenya’s largest flower farm— currently sell an average of 21,000 stems of flowers at the auction, down from 200,000 stems that they would do before the outbreak of Coronavirus at this time of the year.

Data from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam indicates that cargo to the airport dipped by 14.5 percent mainly driven by low volumes of flowers from Africa in the first half of 2020.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Oserian used to sell up to 800,000 stems on average a day for both the auction and direct market with Europe being their largest buyer.

Mary Kinyua, the firm’s director of marketing said they sell 30 percent of their flowers to the auction with 70 percent going through direct market.

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Kenya sells up to 70 percent of its horticulture through the auction, where different countries in the European Union bloc make their bids.

Ms Kinyua, however, said they expect to reach 800,000 stems a day as early as next month ahead of high season for horticulture produce in Europe.

“We are anticipating a return to normalcy starting next month ahead of the peak season in September,” she said.

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