Sixth Edition of IFTEX Demonstrating    the Beauty of Kenya flowers

Sixth Edition of IFTEX Demonstrating the Beauty of Kenya flowers

For the sixth year in a row, Kenya is hosting the International Flower Trade Expo (IFTEX), slated for June 7-9 at the Oshwal Centre, Parklands, Nairobi.
This year’s show apart from affirming the strength of Kenya as a leading supplier of flowers in the world comes amidst renewed focus in the country following the classification of JKIA to Category A status, enabling direct flights to the US from Nairobi. Kenya’s flowers are a sensation in the US but until the categorization, it has been costly and lengthy to ship the country’s flowers to the world’s biggest market after the EU. Owing to the availability of the flights, the show anticipates more American buyers in Nairobi going by confirmed visits and increasing inquiries.
The beauty of Kenyan flowers was visible at the recent China Flower Trade Fair in Guangzhou and the World Floral Expo in Las Vegas (US) held early this year on different continents with similar high levels of attraction to the country’s flowers.
In China, visitors came from all the corners of the vast continent some purposely looking for the Kenya pavilion where a remarkable display resulted in buyers expressing interest to attend the Kenya flower show (IFTEX), to see more varieties and colour. For this reason they expect more buyers from Asia, the country’s newest and promising market frontier for flowers.
“Since IFTEX opened its doors here in 2012, there has been a steady pattern of target visitors. “Buyers come here to see the flowers and book supplies. That they keep coming year after year is an indication that the show meets their expectations and ultimately, the organizers since IFTEX is a buyers’ show. On the other hand, growers have always put their best mix on show creating a sea of flowers not seen anywhere else under one roof. IFTEX is therefore an international show by any standards and has become a “must do” in the floriculture activity calendar. Despite it being the youngest of global flower shows organized by HPP, IFTEX is now among the top five world’s most important industry events,” said Dick Van Ramsdonk, President HPP.
Although Kenya actively participates in four other international flower shows globally, IFTEX offers the largest number of growers sitting together showcasing the unique characteristics of flowers from the country’s various growing regions. Big heads, small heads, short stems, long stems as well as different varieties coming from the same country complete the picture of market diversity.
Kenya’s position astride the Equator and varying climatic conditions enables the country to grow flowers that compete with those from the other four countries in the world in the same horizon making the nations the top flower producing spots. These are Kenya, Ethiopia, Ecuador and Colombia. Kenya has a mix of low and high lands enabling production of the same variety in different region giving different characteristics for the diverse markets. For instance, the same variety grown in Naivasha, Thika and Nanyuki gives three different shades of the same flower going into different markets, and this is unique to Kenya.
This year, over 5,000 visitors and 225 exhibitors (growers, breeders, consolidators, products and service providers) are expected to participate in the expo, reaffirming the great importance of this annually held international flower trade exhibition. Last year over 1,500 key qualified trade visitors from over 28 countries visited the show, a big number for buyers.
The biggest representation in the show will be the Kenyan flower growers, but producers from other nations will present their products. Growers from Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Africa will be exhibiting giving IFTEX a regional fair as well as a show for Africa, staged in Kenya, the continent’s leading producer, and the world’s third largest.
IFTEX was launched in Nairobi in 2012 and has been held every year since. It has made history, not only as the fastest growing among industry exhibitions organized by HPP but has also the only event that has attracted growers from other continents to showcase their products in a non-consuming country.
The show has grown into a top Kenyan brand, strengthening the country’s position as a leader in global markets, while enhancing the image of Nairobi as the home from where 40 per cent of the flowers sold in Europe originate. IFTEX has come at the right time for the Kenya flower industry that is now in the process of market consolidation and retention by positioning its flowers as responsibly grown, and that picture can only be seen at a show of an international magnitude at home.
Currently, IFTEX is at par with other important flower exhibitions organized by HPP which include World Floral Expo (USA), Agriflor (Quito, Ecuador), and the International Floriculture Trade Fair (Vijfhuizen, Holland), all that are key activities in the flower industry calendar.

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