A flower firm is pushing for the creation of a local flower auction to boost earnings.
Nyaharuru-based Primarosa Flowers, a top cut flower producer, reckons an auction would make the industry more attractive by enabling players to source direct clients and encouraging value addition.
Primarosa Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kamani argues that with about 38 per cent of cut flower imports into the European Union originating from Kenya, the local flower sector is at a unique position to reap maximum benefits.
He said that local dealers will cut on transport costs of sending their flowers to the Netherlands and sell their produce within a shorter period besides an opportunity for value addition.
“It is high time that the Kenyan floriculture industry along with the Kenya Flower Council (KFC) launched its very own Kenya flower auction.
Global flower buyers and consolidators should be invited to visit our beautiful country while also engaging in the flower auction,” Mr Kamani said.
The cut flower industry recorded a 20 per cent rise in revenue last year to Sh82.2 billion from 159,961 metric tons of exported flowers.
About 70 per cent of all exported flowers are sold through the Dutch auction, which has turned the Netherlands into the largest export market of all Kenya made goods.
The flower council said the infrastructure needed to set up an auction is huge, including logistics and cold rooms.
“I am not saying it’s impossible, but a complicated infrastructure will be needed, the Dutch auction has been built for more than 100 years,” said KFC chief executive Clement Tulezi.
Players in the flower industry are eagerly anticipating the launch of direct flights to the United States from October, with the market estimated at Sh10 billion.
Mr Kamani said a local auction will generate new jobs especially for attendants who will sleeve, label and package flowers for sale in foreign markets.