Employee’s welfare at the heart of the blossoming Shalimar flowers

In the horticultural hub of Kenya, Naivasha region, off North Lake road, Kasarani area sits Shalimar Flowers. The farm prides itself of being the mother of the other three farms under the umbrella of East African Growers Limited: Mahee in Ol-kalau, Mwanzi in Rumuruti and Kabuku in Thika.
The farm management has put interests of their 650 workers at heart. According to Mr. Anbu Anbarasan – Farm Manager, they value their employees and they treat them with a lot of dignity since if there is a slight weakness of any form it affects their output. The company through the Fairtrade Project, offers bursaries to their employees’ children.
“Every child from each household in the farm is entitled to thirty thousand Kenya shillings school fees; from form one to form four and we do not segregate whether they are bright or not but given a chance to be in school definitely their grades improves,” Anbarasan opined. In addition, workers who have attained the A-level education and didn’t get an opportunity to further their studies are sponsored by the Fairtrade Project to attain college education in the fields of their predilection. At the moment, several employees have enrolled for computer classes, tailoring and driving courses.
“We also train our employees annually on heath related matters including HIV/AIDS, cancer among others with the help of HER Project. All workers have insurance cover paid by the farm for compensation in case of accidents occurring.
After five years of working in this farm, every employee is entitled to a gratuity of thirty percent,” the farm manager explained. Breast feeding mothers are allowed one and half hours every day to breast feed their babies. The Company provides housing facility where employees are allocated two rooms to live comfortably. Workers are registered as members of the Company’s Sacco where they are able to acquire low interest loans. The noble gesture of the farm to its employees has also been extended to the local community. They have purchased a piece of land for the neighboring St Andrews Secondary School, which is being used as a playground by the students. They are currently supplying clean piped water to the locals.
An employee of Shalimar Farm mixing cocopeat to be placed in baler machine Shalimar Farm’s, farm manager Mr. Anbu Anbarasan and Ms. Vivian Wafula, in charge of propagation, at cocopeat preparation site Besides employees, Shalimar runs their own propagation facility with over twenty five thousand plants propagated in a day.
Vivian Wafula who is in charge of propagation revealed that at the moment they have 480,000 plants in the propagation units. “In the first unit the grafted plants are provided with conducive environment including water for the buds to shoot and the roots to develop. This takes a period of thirty days before moving them to the second unit for hardening. The process takes fifteen days before they are transplanted to greenhouse,” Wafula explained.
Shalimar Farm was incepted in 2002 on a five hundred acre piece of land and currently, they are cultivating nineteen varieties of intermediate roses. They have curved out thirty acres solely for rose cultivation; twenty five acres on hydroponics and the remaining five on soil; though very soon they will also be converted to hydroponic. The farm prides itself of being ETI, GlobalGap, Mps, and Fairtrade certified. On average they export forty five million stems annually. Athena is their best variety in terms of income and its productivity.

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