Vibrant Rimi Flora Producing quality hypericums

At the heart of Kihingo, Nakuru county, lies a vibrant flower farm, RIMI FLORA. It resembles an ancient portrait from a distance with an organized mixture of big red, green, chocolate and orange berries, floating in a pattern of a river of green leaves. It’s a sight to adore and leaves one tongue tied with its magical splendor.
Rimi Flora the brain child of Richard Mutua who dubs up as the Director avers that the company began cultivation in north lake, Naivasha in 2007 on leased lands. “ While in Naivasha we experienced various challenges which made the company to incur losses. Frequent hailstorms and strong winds affected our plants. We used nets to cushion our flowers. Frost was another challenge we faced which scorched the flowers. This forced the company to relocate in 2011 to Karate in Gilgil near the NYS training college but they later faced more challenges of water which is saline and lack of more arable lands for expansion. ,” he elaborated.
Later in 2015, Mutua purchased 27 acres of land in Kihingo where the company relocated. Currently, the farm is cultivating 6 acres of the land with gradual expansion and introduction of new varieties and customers demands.
They endeavor’s to produce the highest possible quality of summer flowers which is aided by good climatically condition and the high altitude on which the farm lies on, 2300 meters above sea level. The hypericum flowers are characterized by big berries with rich colors that are glossy and pleasant to look at, while their leaves are large and deep green. The varieties grown here are: Magical triumph which is their best quality and red in color, magical green power, brown in color magical pumpkin which is chocolate in color, magical summer cherry which is orange in color, and magical season.
Hypericums are summer flowers in that they are grown during the summer season in Europe and to facilitate their growth in Rimi Flora, they do artificial lighting at night for 6 hours to ‘mimic’ daylight. The extended hours of lighting are usually during week six or seven; for a period of 4 weeks.
Hypericums can be planted from propagated cuttings or direct sticking into the soil. Interestingly, they are planted in open field to achieve high quality. ‘’We don’t erect nets, like in Naivasha as we receive less hailstorm,’’ said Stephen Mwanzi the farm manager.
They plant hypericums with compost manure as it helps to improve the structure of the soil and controls nematodes. This manure is composted from vegetation wastes in the farm.
The first flush of hypericum is harvested in the twentieth week after planting, which is followed by cutting it back, feeding with compost manure, weeding, remolding the beds, de-suckering and de-thinning. “After harvesting we trim them carefully to ensure a uniform sprouting. We harvest twice in a year and the consecutive flushes takes 18 weeks, lasting for more than seven years before we re-plant a fresh,’’ Mwanzi averred.
Hypericums are susceptible to pests such as white flies, thrips and diseases such as leaf rust. They use sticky traps as well as preventative spraying against these pests and diseases,” The company has invested a lot of resources in monitoring pests and diseases and in controlling them using the integrated methods while taking great care of both the environment together with its personnel. We are all about ethical and responsible ways of operation. Mwanzi highlighted.
The farm harvests 60,000 stem of flowers and channels them to the auction market in Middle east, and Europe through Flora Holland. With direct flights to America, the company hopes to penetrate into the American market.
Rimi Flora Limited supports the local community through the provision of clean drinking water free of charge. This removes a big financial burden from families who have either to boil water to get rid of germs or travel far places to fetch clean water. By drinking clean water our neighbors are bound to experience reduced infections with water bone diseases. Currently, we have employed 62 workers. It is also our policy to employ locals with an aim of facilitating the regional development.
On a wider scope, the company has taken an initiative to support education through the Rimi Flora Foundation. Its goal is to keep the less fortunate children in schools by providing them with basic needs such as food. “Our government has gone a long way to provide free education and, as long as a child is assured of food in school, they will definitely attend school. We have also laid murram on the 2 kilometre road leading to the company which is used by the locals as well,” said Richard Mutua, the Director Rimi Flora.
On their way forward, the company is looking at re-introducing Gypsophilla specifically my pink variety to their assortment of flower cultivation. As his parting shot, Mr.Mutua challenges the government to pay keen attention on reducing the cost of electricity

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