The second edition of Flower Logistics Africa (FLA) and Perishable Logistics Africa (PLA) was held on the 22nd and 23rd November 2017 respectively at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi. The event brought together players in the horticulture industry value chain including growers, exporters, freight forwarders, shippers, the airlines amongst others.
The conference was structured into panel discussions where various panelists handled different topics as the audience were engaged throughout the discussions.
Logistics refers to the whole framework whether physical, technical or administrative for the transportation of exports right from the farm to the consumer. Employing better logistics in the industry lead to profitability and reduce wastage.
The theme for the FLA was ‘Enhancing Africa’s flower power through better logistics’. The panel discussions highlighted technology trends in cool chain management, better logistics standards in packaging of flowers amongst others.
The Kenya Flower Council Chief Executive Mrs. Jane Ngige said in order to achieve better logistics, information sharing is vital for the value chain to run smoothly hence a good communication strategy should be set to ensure that information is shared among all the actors involved. She added that growers need to take responsibility to ensure they understand the value chain. The theme for the PLA was creating Africa’s future logistics grid for perishables.
The panels highlighted issues on industry collaboration, better logistics leading to improved profitability and no wastage and temperature management as well as transparency in transport from farm to fork. Moreover, Government involvement and participation in the industry activities will ensure that better logistics are attained for example, the government should integrate associations to enable farmers access information easily.
There is also need for Capacity building mainly done through offering training services to players along the value chain. Technology is the hallmark in attaining better logistics for instance through the traceability system ensuring that products can be traced right from the point of origin to the point of consumption. Currently, use of data loggers ensures that a good track of events is kept whereas use of electronic program greatly reduces paper work.
According to Jane Ngige, communication systems should be digitized so that the access to information is made easier for each of the players along the value chain. “Adoption of bar code reading technology which enables the grower to know where the product needs to be stored, how efficiently it is distributed to the warehouse and customers and to track each product that is sold helps in managing inventory information and concurrently increases both productivity and efficiency, “she said