IFTEX- Where deals are made

IFTEX- Where deals are made

The 2019 International Floriculture Trade Expo (IFTEX) at the Visa Oshawl was described by the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Dr. Chris Kiptoo as where deals are made. He was making reference to the fact that the exhibition boasts of bringing together growers, breeders,  propagationists and buyers, a model that he said should be adopted by other industries. He was speaking after officially opening the 2019 IFTEX exhibition whose theme is supporting sustainable floriculture in Kenya. The exhibition has attracted 180 local and international companies ranging from breeders, growers, exporters, airlines, cargo handlers, farm inputs companies among others. This is the 8th edition and according to the organizer, CEO of HPP International Exhibition Group B.V.,  Dick Van Raamsdonk, “it is without any discussion one of the most important international fairs in the world for the fresh flower trade”. Flowers that include roses, carnations and summer flowers were on full display and particularly a unique floral arrangement done by Mzurrie flowers in their stand. The arrangement was made up of vertical shapes with diagonal tops that slopped from the middle in unison flowing outwards. The hollow shapes were then filled with flowers resting one on top of the other upto 7 feet high which made it look infinite. It is no wonder that they won the silver award for best stand design perishables. The exhibitors have all tried to put their best foot forward to attract buyers who have attended the expo in droves. Kenya sits pretty in  fourth place in terms of the global production of flowers.   The country exported Kshs. 113.2 billion of flowers in 2018 compared to Kshs 82 billion the previous year, a 38% growth as reported by the Kenya Flower Council.

The flower industry looks promising looking ahead 5-10 years especially now that new markets are being promoted including Japan, China, Turkey and Australia. An agreement with China regarding the sanitary and phytosanitary conditions of crops exported into the far east country will open up that market to kenyan growers. Similar agreements are being sought with Turkey and especially touching on the reduction of tarrifs which go as high as 20%. The Kenya Flower Council CEO Mr. Clement Tulezi says that Kenya continues to diversify its market destinations as we currently export to 60 countries and territories worldwide. This is no small feat for the council which holds the presidency of the Union Fleurs- the International Flower Trade Association whose main purpose is to represent and promote the interests of traders of cut flowers, cut foliage and pot plants. This ties in well with IFTEX’s main goal as expressed by Dick van Raamsdonk which is more exports through more promotion leading to more production by more growers. IFTEX has postioned itself to offer a unique opportunity for flower growers from as far as Ethiopia represented by Tal Flowers, to showcase their various flowers and even invite potential buyers back to their farms most of which are within driving distance of below 2hrs and flying distance of 30mins from the capital Nairobi. The first day of the expo also saw the award ceremony for the best companies in the floriculture industry.

Another cause for celebration at IFTEX 2019 was last year’s launch of daily flights to the US by the national carrier Kenya Airways. This according to Mr. Tulezi has helped the country get a 1% foothold in the US market with 2 tonnes of flowers going there every week. This is a very low penetration rate compared to Europe where Kenya enjoys an enviable 40% of the market. The Flower Council intends to complement the US market rather than compete with Colombia which dominates at 70% penetration. The biggest challenge reported by Mr. Tulezi was the fact that the Kenya Airways flight lands in New York which has little storage and distribution channels as compared to Miami. However, related to that, KEPHIS under the leadership of Esther Kimani is trying to ease access to the US market by strengthening its facilities and human resources so that they can match the processes of its US equivalent- AFIS. She advised growers to understand the requirements of the country where they intend to export to. In order to further ease the export process, the government has undertaken reforms through the Green channel where only four agencies will be tasked with clearance of cargo notably Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Railways, Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Bureau of Standards.

In terms of market linkages, another company bringing together buyers and growers is Royal FloraHolland which launched an open digital platform that offers a wide range of plants and flowers sourced directly from growers in the world. The platform dubbed Floriday was introduced at IFTEX by Royal FloraHolland CEO, Steven van Schilfgaarde. Steven says that Royal FloraHolland is a 100-year-plus old cooperative that has 4000 growers, 100 of which are in Africa. The Floriday marketplace sells 5.2 billion US dollars worth of produce every year. Speaking at the opening ceremony of IFTEX, Mr. Steven said that collaboration is one of the pillars of success in the floriculture industry. “The Asian market will in the coming years be the fastest growing market for the sector” said Steven. His sentiments were echoed by the P.S. Dr. Kiptoo who said that Kenya is in talks with China to possibly reduce tarrifs to AGOA levels. The expo runs for 3 days from 5-7th June at the Visa Oshawl Center.

Here is a list of winners feted at the 2019 IFTEX

Best Grower Standard Roses:

Bronze: Bliss Flora

Silver: Omang & Amor

Gold: Uhuru Flowers

Best Grower Garden Roses:

Bronze: Fontana – Ayana

Silver: Black Tulip- Black Petals Limited

Gold: Fontana –  Diya

Best Grower Spray Roses:

Bronze: Mzurrie Flowers

Silver: Black Tulip – Golden Tulip Farms

Gold: Sian Agriflora

Best Grower Assorted Cut Flowers:

Bronze: Eternal Flowers

Silver:Black Tulip – Tropiflora

Gold:Flora Delight

Best Stand Design Perishables:

Bronze: P.J Dave Flowers/Rising Sun

Silver: Mzurrie Flowers

Gold: Omang & Amor

Best Stand Design Non- Perishables

Bronze: Kuehne & Nagel

Silver: HSI

Gold: Koppert

Speaking after winning the award for best grower standard roses, Ivan Freeman from Uhuru Flowers said that he was happy that their rose named Joyce had won and petitioned the judges to bring back the Platinum category which they won last year so that they can win it again next year. On her part, Elizabeth Kimani, the General Manager at Sian Roses’ Maasai farm said that the award for best grower spray flowers was important to them as it shows their efforts are paying off. “It also gives our buyers confidence in our roses especially the winning rose named royal porcelina” said Elizabeth.

Ketan from Omang and Amor said that if he had known in advance, he would have split his submissions evenly between standard roses and garden roses instead of putting up three varieties in the standard category and only one in garden roses category. One of the three roses named minion won the silver award for best grower standard roses. However, he found reprieve when their stand won gold in the best stand design perishables category. The judges said that the stand had a ‘wow factor’ and communicated the company’s message well. Their large assortment of flowers in the stand also won them points from  the judges.



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