Plans are underway for the 2nd flowers and the inaugural perishable logistics Africa conferences slated for the 22nd-23rd of November.
Stakeholders in the sector are bracing themselves for the huge industry gathering where issues regarding logistics will be ventilated.
The forum comes amid political uncertainty that has had a huge impact on the economy.
Farmers, clearing agents, transporters, insurers and government institutions and policy experts will gather next week for the Flower Logistics Africa (FLA) and the inaugural edition of Perishable Logistics Africa (PLA), to seek ways of tapping into the expanding potential of the sector.
“This is a very important gathering for us as the Kenya Flower Council because it addresses very important issues that affect the export of flowers and by extension other perishables,” Kenya Flower Council boss Jane Ngige notes.
“It is coming at a time when as a country we are facing serious competition from other producers and to gather to discuss how to respond to that scenario and ensure that the quality of our flowers is not compromised due to logistical mishandling.”
The two conferences are aimed to open dialogue and facilitate sharing of ideas, knowledge and practical solutions to improve logistics and supply chain performance of key perishable commodities exported from Kenya and the rest of Africa.
The two-day event, covering both flower and other cargo commodities like fruits, vegetable and meat, seeks to develop modern and cost efficient logistics and supply chain infrastructure within the African continent.
FLA and PLA will bring under one roof global and regional providers of cold chain logistics, transport services and infrastructure, and will meet with Africa’s flower and perishable producers and shippers.
“For us as customs agents, this is very important because we are not only networking and discussing business but how to ensure that every component of the supply chain management is well managed because flowers and perishables are very sensitive,” says William Ojonyo of the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association.
“As agents we have issues to do with certain policy regulations that are hurting the smooth facilitation of the exports and it is coming at the right time when these issues are pertinent and must be addressed.” He said.
Ojonyo, also revealed that a meeting of clearing and forwarding agents will convened in Mombasa on Friday to adopt common resolutions on the current economic situation and how their business is affected by among things, the prevailing political environment.
“The meeting in Mombasa will be about how to improve the industry and make it efficient for trade facilitation by the different players and we will come out of Mombasa ready to engage with the other Stakeholders at the conferences productively for a better way forward.
There is great potential for Kenya in terms of flowers exports which needs to be tapped now.”
Kenya Flower Council (KFC), Saudia Cargo, Holland Flower Alliance, Cool Chain Association (CCA and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) are among the key institutions involved with Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) and the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH), Union Fleurs – the international flower trade association and WCA Perishables also expected to make presentations.
“FLA and PLA will help participants connect with the right set of resources to understand and implement solutions that will optimize your supply chain,” says Leon Dias of Logistics Update Africa who are the conference convenors.
“The event is specially curated with topics that matter to your industry and speakers who influence your business.”