Imani flowers, growing colorful Summer flowers in the sunshine

Imani flowers, growing colorful Summer flowers in the sunshine

Over the years, summer flowers have emerged as most sorted flowers to complement assorted bouquets in the world. This can be observed by the ever increasing number of summer flower growers, exhibiting their produce in major flower exhibitions. Farming summer flowers is also considered as less capital intensive venture as compared to roses.

Imani Flowers, nestled within the vast environment of Kenya’s Rift Valley, is one of the companies that grows summer flowers. Located in Nakuru County; 25 kilometers from Nakuru town between Kabarak and Rongai at an altitude of 1,890m, the company is producing superb brands since 2013 and from stride to stride they have grown.

As one approaches the farm, a scene of beautifully growing summer flowers; acreages of land in open fields blocks, attracts the eyes. The farm began cultivation in Naivasha, off South Lake Road but the need for expansion saw them relocate to an expansive 60ha virgin piece of land.

They have specialized in producing an assortment of diverse summer flowers; Gypsophilla, Limmonium with a wide range of colors, Anigozanthos also featuring diverse colors, Tuberose and Sunflowers. They incorporate sunflowers to replenish soil as the plant is good in nitrogen fixation as well as the large leaves are good for manure as they decompose in a short time.

According to Raphael Otieno, the Farm Manager, a bouquet of flowers is not complete without Gypsophilla since they provide interesting depth color and compliment roses. “As a farm, Gypsophilla is our major product as we produce 15,000 stems in a day and has a big market. We opted for open fields rather than the greenhouse as flowers grown in the fields tend to have more weight and longer stem lengths than those in greenhouse. For, Gypsophilla, weight is more considered in the market. We are growing different varieties of Gypsophilia (xlence, Tinted and zinzi)” averred Otieno, the Farm Manager.

Dealing with different breeders has seen them cultivate various varieties of Limmonium such as; perezzi, altaica series, sinensis, sinuatum and Kangaro. Otieno opines that they are the major producers of Limmonium in Kenya.

Gypsophilla thrives well, achieves high quality when grown on virgin lands; after a period of 3 years, they shift to other uncultivated blocks in the farm leaving room for the blocks cultivated to regain fertility. “Gypsophilla have an advantage of not being affected by hailstorms. Even if they hit the leaves, we do defoliation as they sell in the market without leaves. Their planting cycle takes 12 to 14 weeks to be ready for harvesting depending on seasons. Cold seasons, they tend to take a long time compared to hot seasons,” Otieno said.

Driven by a workforce of over 160 people, they are maintaining high standards of quality and customer satisfaction. They also have a strong commitment to safeguard the locals and environment. The company has embarked on planting trees which act as windbreakers. “This area is prone to wind which causes havoc to our flowers. Besides planting trees, we have incorporated table netting which ensures the flowers withstands wind hence maintaining upright posture, “said John Mwaura, the production manager.

The farm being located in a maize growing area has had numerous challenges. Many people opt to tend their maize fields rather than being employed. This has compelled them to source for workers from far flanged areas such as Subukia hence incurring more expenses on transportation.

Another challenge they have experienced is army worms attacks. “The concluded maize season saw many maize fields being attacked by army worms. The worms spilled to our farm and we were affected to a great extent,” Mwaura elucidated.

“This place is good as we are not prone to many pests and diseases the way we were at Naivasha. When one farm has an outbreak of certain pests like whiteflies and thrips in Naivasha, the other farms are likely to encounter the same. This leads to lots of investments in controlling and drenching the soils,” Otieno pointed out.

Imani flowers, is on the brink of becoming a seed merchant for summer flowers. They have registered with KEPHIS and once they begin importing and developing them, they will supply to growers.

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