For a long time, Kenyans have been consuming blended juices, consciously or unconsciously of the ingredients used in the drink. Some take it to quench their thirst, others take it for nutritional value, while others take it for leisure. Furthermore,...
A Chat with Edward Manning, the new Commercial Director at Greenlife Crop Protection
Edward Manning is a person who wears his enthusiasm on his sleeve. This is immediately apparent when you speak to him or peers in the floriculture industry who have had a chance to interact with him over the years. The immediate former MD at rose breeder De Ruiter East Africa brings this enthusiasm, unique drive and concise vision to Greenlife Crop Protection Africa Ltd where he embarks on a new role as the company's Commercial Director.
Edward joins Greenlife Crop Protection Africa, a company regarded as one of Africa's biggest names in agronomy at a time when the firm is creating notable inroads with regards to sustainable solutions in soil and crop management. Greenlife Crop Protection Africa under the leadership of CEO and founder Festus Mwaniki has propelled into a leading agrochemicals, seeds and farm equipment’s company in the African continent. The company's primary focus is on supply of quality and affordable wide range of crop protection, pest control products and general agricultural and public health consultancy.
A few days before the 2017 Naivasha Horticultural Fair, Flowerweb had an exclusive chat with Edward Manning on his background in horitulture and floriculture and his vision as he assumes the mantle of Commercial Director at Greenlife Crop Protection Africa. He shares his excitement saying that he looks forward to serving the market and by doing so ensuring that Kenya maintains its position in the world as a global market leader in Floriculture
Tell us a little bit about your background in horticulture
I started out in Floriculture following my graduation from the Royal Agricultural college in 2007 under the late Pim Preesman and Late Honorable Njoroge Mungai at Magana. The inception into this dynamic industry was well received and I became well versed in plant physiology and breeding with a significant element of commercialization of Rose varieties under the leadership of Siddarthur Biswas. I later progressed into market leading breeder De Ruiter and was pleased to lead the company for the past 4 years with novel developments in Nakuru and Mt Kenya as well as significant market share increases.
As the new Commercial Director for Greenlife, what is your role in helping the company scale further and achieve its mission?
The role of Commercial Director for Greenlife will be to me the most significant and exciting challenge yet; and will involve a significant program of Re Branding as will be seen during the Naivasha Horticultural Fair. I will offer bespoke services and ensure supply chain integrity at every step of the way. In my role, I am preparing a sustainable and robust commercial framework for Greenlife Crop Protection.
What can you tell Kenya floriculture and horticulture growers about Greenlife products?
Greenlife offers a huge and turnkey product portfolio and we can offer a solution to almost every evolving problem encountered in Horticultural practices. Unique and market conducive products that ensure farm economic viability. By this statement I offer you the right product at the right price.
Give us a breakdown of some of your services?
Greenlife offers an agribusiness solution to a fast changing market this includes agronomy services, 3rd party trialing options and high levels of service delivery.
What can growers visiting the forthcoming Naivasha show expect from Greenlife?
The Naivasha Horti Fair is a significant platform for which Greenlife is proud to both introduce myself and her new brand with a focus on our vision which is: "To be the model and reference company for quality agrochemicals, seeds, farm equipment, public health and nutrition products in Africa".
What is you personal approach with regards to customer service and also managing your staff?
I will try to ensure that a robust workforce translates to a sustainable business model, Greenlife prides itself on cultural diversity and training programs that ensure we breed pragmatic entrepreneurs within the company
************************Courtesy Flowerweb****************************** ... See MoreSee Less
New potato seeds developed
The future for potato farmers looks brighter after the Kenya Plant Inspectorate Health Service (Kephis) developed over 50 new varieties that are high-yielding, pest resistant and suitable for specific regions.
The varieties were showcased last week at the Kephis Kitale offices, with Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett and a host of government officials in attendance.
Dr Esther Maina, Kephis managing director, said since 2013, Kephis in collaboration with local and international breeders has released 52 varieties.
“All the new varieties are high tuber yielding, disease tolerant and or resistant and have excellent tuber qualities for the various market niches,” she noted, adding that it is important for farmers to go for certified seeds to beat diseases such as Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN).
The new varieties include Ambition, Laura, Lady Amarilla, Derby, Markies, Sagitta, Saviola, Musica, Royal, Jelly, El Mundo, Faluka, Challenger, Evora, Panamera, Rodeo, Sifra, Voyager, UNICA, Konjo, Carolus, Zafira, Milva, Connect, Sarpo Mira and Mayan Gold, among others.
Of the varieties, only Shangi, Tigoni, Asante and Dutch Robjin are well-known to farmers.
Shangi, however, is the most popular variety among farmers and accounts for 70 per cent of the market.
Save for Dutch Robjin, the other varieties have been used in making chips and mashed potatoes. Dutch Robjin has been the only crisping variety.
From the initial one variety for crisps, now farmers have 10 more varieties such as Manitou, Destiny, Nyota, Royal and Sagitta. The others are for chips making.
Dr Simeon Komen, a plant examiner at Kephis, said that the new varieties are meant for high altitude areas which are traditionally potato growing areas.
“These areas have an altitude that ranges from 1,800m-2,400m above sea level with adequate rains that can go for up to 3,300m to 3,400m in places such as Mt Elgon in Bungoma, Kapcherop and Nyaru in Elgeyo Marakwet,” he explains
CURRENTLY NOT AVAILABLE
The new varieties, Dr Komen says, would offer up to 60 tonnes per hectare (two-and-half acres) under proper management. At national level, the average tonne is seven.
“Generally, potatoes produced in warm areas sprout early. If you want to produce seeds it is advisable to do so in warm areas. Those from Holland have longer dormancy means that they can stay longer without going bad so long as they are kept in cool temperatures and cured well.”
He added that besides the new varieties being good for processing crisps or chips, they can also be baked and even roasted.
The researcher, however, added that currently the new varieties are not widely available in the market.
“There are seeds but not that much widely available. Various seed companies will need to evaluate the farmers’ preferences before venturing into mass seed production,” he said.
Normally, the cost of the seeds ranges from Sh35-Sh40 per kilogramme while those imported directly from Holland cost Sh100 per kilo
“However, they must be certified first before they are released for farmers. We multiply once or twice to increase the number of seeds.” There are 13 major potato producing counties in Kenya. These are Nyandarua, Meru, Nyeri, Kiambu, Taita Taveta, Nakuru, Narok, Bomet, Elgeyo Marakwet, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, Uasin Gishu and West Pokot.
Other producing counties include Kisii, Nyamira, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Baringo, Nandi, Laikipia and Kericho.
Potential potato producing counties are Machakos, Makueni, Embu, Kajiado, Tharaka Nithi, Samburu, Kwale and Nairobi.
The leading producers are Nyandarua (29.8 per cent), Nakuru (18.9 per cent) and Elgeyo Marakwet (16.2 per cent).
Dr Komen said the new varieties for low altitudes areas that are 1,500m above sea level such as Kakamega, parts of Kirinyaga and the Coast are in pipeline.
Source ****************Seeds of Gold************************
New potato seeds for crisps and chips - Daily Nation http://nation.co.ke/business/seedsofgold/… ... See MoreSee Less
Meet Rob Letcher, the new MD at De Ruiter East Africa
Since beginning of May this year, Rob Letcher took over the helm at De Ruiter East Africa as the company’s new Managing Director. Rob has an admirable wealth of experience in floriculture, with a career that was groomed back in the early 90s. We spoke to the new MD to find out more about his journey in Floriculture, personal aspirations, vision for De Ruiters East Africa and message to rose growers in East Africa.
Rob Letcher, MD De Ruiter East Africa
Rob the manager
As a manager, team work, delegation of duties and work ethic are most important to Rob.
“Nothing comes easy so I expect all team members to perform well and then enjoy the success of their labour. We will aim for better open communications, transparency and consistency in all our dealings to ensure growers get what they seek. This we trust will allow relationships to flourish on the back of our effort.”
His Mission and Vision for De Ruiter East Africa
“My mission for De Ruiters East Africa Limited is to continue developing the good brand that De Ruiters is, in “Creating Flower Business”! That challenge includes further improvement of the farm facilities, staff development training and relationship building across the region. Team spirit is a vital ingredient for our future success. I will use my market and marketing knowledge, farm background and African and European network to achieve our mission objectives. Having worked for many years abroad I am excited by my return to Africa and the challenges we face. My vision for DREA is to be the most reliable breeder for choice of varieties across all market segments. We have work to do to achieve this goal.”
What Rob has to say to rose growers in East Africa.
“I invite all growers to meet with me to discuss your respective strategies. It is important to know what market you are selling into and the product those market segments demand. The market is constantly changing and evolving, at an alarming rate. Be aware of this and the pros and cons of all changes for your farm. Importers and unpackers face this challenge every year too, so test these relationships to be sure of getting the right advice and answers when selecting varieties. The market is much less forgiving than it was 15 years ago. I look forward to developing good relationships that assist in making this region more professional, competent and successful. De Ruiters has some exciting new variety options across many colours being fast-tracked through selection. The future looks exciting!”
Rob's Journey in the industry
Rob was initially introduced to the rose industry in the early 90s by his brother-in law who was a manager at a Zimbabwean Rose Farm. He didn’t immediately delve deep into roses since he was at the time involved in the Coffee Industry. He started learning more about roses and being directly involved in the industry when he was recruited by Suparose, a Zimbabwean Rose Grower Group, just befor the close of 1998.
“Later on, I was tasked with establishing a Sales and Marketing company, C.A.R.M.S., in The Netherlands. I relocated to the Netherlands where I dedicated time to developing their Marketing Strategy using the Bloemenveiling Naaldwijk as our base. Sales of sweetheart roses were split across Dutch Auctions and direct market clients initially,” he recalls.
In 2003 C.A.R.M.S. relocated to the Aalsmeer region for closer proximity to their primary clients and Schiphol airport.
“We changed strategy focusing only on the direct sales market. The Dutch Auctions no longer offered a cost effective sales platform for sweetheart roses. We included product sourced from Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa. This strategy reduced the risk of non-supply and further developed our reputation as a reliable supplier, come volcanic ash-flow scares, drought or cancelled flights. Despite losing most of our Zimbabwean farms to politics in 2004, we increased our annual sales of imported roses from 60 to 190 million stems (in 2010). Being close to the market allowed us to focus on the grower’s best interests. In the past decade our strategy further evolved focusing less on stem volume and more on quality and inclusion of Intermediate and Hybrid T roses supply from Kenyan and Ethiopian growers.”
The European market is very competitive. That competition, and the difficult economic period from 2008 through to recent years, focussed our attention on selection of the appropriate clients, transparency, improving supply and cold chains, and financial management. Low margins from the outset ensured our small team had to be cost effective and efficient. It was both a very challenging but rewarding experience. ... See MoreSee Less