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Flower prices in EU drop by 20 per cent due to Covid-19 jitters

By Antony Gitonga | November 16th 2020 at 10:30:00 GMT +0300

A worker in one of the Naivasha-based flower farms sorts out products destined for the European Union market. [File, Standard]

Flower prices in the European market have fallen by 20 per cent in the last two weeks.

This follows the second wave of Covid-19 that has seen several countries reintroduce lockdowns.

The most affected is 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 who were on their way to recovery following the near-total-collapse of the sector early in the year due to the pandemic.

Farmers had embarked on increasing their production ahead of Valentine season when flower demand and exports are at their highest.

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According to the Kenya Flower Council Chief Executive Clement Tulezi, the fall in prices has been worsened by the directive by France and Germany governments that flowers be pulled off the shelves since 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 they were engaging the two governments to remove the blanket directive so that some supermarkets would have the flowers.

He said the sector, which was operating at 80 per cent, had seen a minor decline in demand due to the pandemic.

“We are still on the recovery trail and currently we are operating at 80 per cent, but we shall maximise on every opportunity,” he said.

He lauded the discovery of a new vaccine in the US but with caution. “This is a breakthrough but we fear that all attention will be towards importing the vaccine and flower exports will no longer be a priority,” he said.

The Kenya Plantations and Agricultural Workers Union Secretary-General in Naivasha, Ferdinand Juma, said they were keenly monitoring the situation in the EU.

He noted that no flower farm had sent their workers home despite the jitters. “We have undergone a challenging period at the height of the pandemic and we hope the spread of the virus will be contained,” he said.

Juma said all flower farms in Naivasha were back to full operation and all their workers had resumed duty.

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