NAIVASHA, KENYA: Flower prices in the European market have fallen by 20 per cent in the last two weeks following the second wave of Covid-19 that has seen several countries reintroduce lockdowns.
The most affected are the Dutch auction where over 50 per cent of the country’s flowers are exported and supermarkets in Germany, Belgium, and France.
The move has raised anxiety among flower farmers in the country who were on their way to recovery following the near-total-collapse of the sector early in the year due to the pandemic.
Farmers have already embarked on increasing their production ahead of Valentine when flower demand and exports are at their highest.
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According to the Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Flower Council (KFC) Clement Tulezi, the most affected was the Dutch auction.
Tulezi said that this had been worsened by the directive from France and German governments directing that flowers be pulled off the shelves as they were not essential commodities.
“Currently flower prices have dropped by 20 per cent due to the new measures introduced by respective EU countries following the new wave of Covid-19,” he said.
In an interview, Tulezi said that through partners they were engaging the two governments to remove the blanket directive so that some supermarkets would have the flowers.
He said that the sector which was operating at 90 per cent had seen a minor decline in demand due to the new pandemic crisis.
“We are still on the recovery trail and currently we are operating at 80 per cent but we shall maximize on every opportunity,” he said.
On his part, the Kenya Plantations and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) secretary-general in Naivasha Ferdinand Juma said that they were keenly monitoring the situation in the EU.
He noted that despite the lockdown, no flower farm had sent their workers home though the situation was creating jittery in the sector.
“We have undergone a very challenging period at the height of the pandemic and we hope the spread of the virus will be contained,” he said.
Juma added that all flower farms in Naivasha were back to full operation and all their workers had resumed duty after the crisis that saw employees sent home.