American flower buyers were present for the first time in this year’s International Flower Trade Expo (IFTEX) looking at tapping into direct flights from Kenya to United States.
IFTEX seeks to connect international buyers with local flower growers.
Delegates who were drawn from over 60 countries that Kenya exports flowers to were present in the exhibition that has grown to a regional trade fair.
The event was officiated by Principal Secretary State Department for Trade Dr. Chris Kiptoo at Oshwal Centre.
Kenya Flower Council CEO Clement Tulezi noted that Kenya is the number one exporter of cut flower in Africa.
“We are still the number one exporter of cut flowers from in Africa followed by Ethiopia. Worldwide we are number three,” said Tulezi.
In 2017 Kenya exported 160,000 tonnes of flowers and generated over 82 billion Kenyan shillings.
Kenya Flower Council Chair Richard Fox said Kenya is actively engaged in expanding its markets to China, Russia, US and Australia.
He however noted that the sector faces challenges like duties and non tariff barriers that hinder healthy competition with competitors adding that the stakeholders plan on working with missions in these markets to remove the duties.
“We would want to work closely with our missions in these markets abroad to remove duties and other non tariff trade barriers so that Kenya can trade on equal terms with our competitors.” Noted Fox.
The journey of a flower from the farm to the vase can be tough and they need all the care they can get to remain fresh for long.
Exhibitors displayed a wide range of products that included products used to nurture and care for flowers.
One such company was Chrysal which deals with products that help increase vase life by up to 60 percent as compared to water alone.
Chrysal LeafShine & Seal
The products include Chrysal LeafShine & Seal which is water based. It reduces dehydration of plants during transport and retail phase. It gives a leaf back its natural gloss.
Chrysal professional cleaner
It stimulates the water uptake thus preventing bent neck, a common problem with roses. This product also lowers the pH of water and maintains the quality of flowers thus prolonging vase life.
It removes limescale and organic dirt quickly and effectively and reduces flower wastage.
It is a post harvest conditioner for ethylene sensitive flowers such as carnations, lilies and Alstroemeria. It improves vase life, diminishes dropping of blooms, leaves and buds and improved bud opening.
The event hosted over 6000 delegates for the seventh edition of IFTEX.
Flowers and horticultural produce from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Rwanda were on display to international buyers.
This year also marked the introduction of the Fresh Produce Exhibition, which brings together local growers of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices and international buyers.