Flower vendors want Market places to sell their flowers

Flower vendors want Market places to sell their flowers

Whereas flower business has resumed after ease of lockdown, flower vendors have nothing to smile about, saying the lifting of the restriction only favors exporters.

According to Elvis Wainaina, chairman Westy Creative Flower Vendors Association, the reopening of flower markets abroad has nothing to do with local vendors for they are still suffering from the wrath of Covid-19 pandemic.

“We don’t have a local market to sell our flowers. Our major clients have been hospitals, weddings, hotels, funeral, graduation ceremonies, birth day parties, Christmas holidays, mothers days and many other ‘small, small’ activities like the Secretary Day which are associated with large flowers volume sales. So far most of the hotels have not reopened, the government still discourage public gathering leaving us to stare at the flowers,” says Wainaina.

The main concern for the vendors is market place to sells their flowers. “Imagine in the whole of this big city, there are no places allocated specifically for vendors to sell flowers. Just like we know of Maasai Market where they sell their ornamental products, Burma market where the business is only meat selling, flower sellers have never been considered,” says

It is not fair that even when new markets are created by local authorities, flower sellers are not given any space. “Where we are now, is called Nairobi Westland’s Soko, a Swahili name for Market that was established recently by the county government of Nairobi. Different business activities ranging from Mitumba (second hand clothes) sellers, fruits and vegetables to stationery among others were allocated spaces but no space was allocated to flower sellers.”

Their efforts to have the county government allocate them space have not borne any fruit. “We started to agitate for these provisions many years ago even before devolution. We had proposed to the relevant departments at the ministry of trade to consider establishing local markets for flowers so that our flowers don’t just dominate the European markets, but should also be available at home, however, no one listens to us,” the chairman lamented.

The only place where flowers are sold formally is Nairobi City Market which is also available for all other kinds of business activities Allan Kang’ethe sells flowers at the City Market but is worried of the many other business activities at the same place. “Yes as you can see we sell flowers here, however, this is not a market for flowers only. We could be doing well if the whole of this market was for flowers,” said Allan. Wainaina who has been in the
Flower selling business for the last 30 years gets flowers from growers and from other vendors at the City Market.

He finds getting flowers a challenge during seasons like Valentine where most growers opt to export all their produce. This leaves their businesses to the unscrupulous middlemen who take the advantage and hike the prices even three times. Offices and homes are a good niche market for him as they have preserved orders which he delivers on daily basis.

At his Creative Flower Vendor shade, a bouquet of flower retails between 200 and 250 shillings. Lack of proper market with good stalls has been a great challenge the vendors have been grappling with. They are not able to display all their flowers to attract and win buyers since flowers dry very first when exposed to sunlight. “Local flower selling business is big in towns, for instance in Nairobi, almost at every corner there must be a vendor going about their business, meaning that it has created a lot of employment.

Visit any town, you will find people selling flowers, how I wish, there were flower market places for us. If the government establishes proper markets for flower business, every seller would take home from Ksh. 5000 to Ksh. 10000 every day.” Wainaina commented.

By Malachi Matano

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