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Flights shortage reduces flower exports

Market By Antony Gitonga | February 12th 2021 at 08:30:00 GMT +0300
A worker from Naivasha-based Maridadi flower farm works on roses for exports on February 11, 2021, ahead of Valentine's Day. Despite the Covid-19 regulations in Europe, the demand for the roses has shot up compared to last year. [Anthony Gitonga, Standard]

High taxes, lack of cargo flights and poor weather in Europe are affecting flower farmers ahead of Valentine’s Day, the Kenya Flower Council (KFC) has said.

This came as the council projected that the sector, which was hard hit by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, would recover by end of the year.

According to KFC, farmers are exporting only 75 per cent of their produce due to lack of flights and limited space.

KFC Chief Executive Clement Tulezi said they were shipping 4,000 tonnes of flowers every week, but which reduced by 1,000 tonnes due to lack of space. He said demand for the produce was on the rise despite strict lockdown regulations in Europe.

“The biggest challenge we are facing is lack of flights, poor weather in Europe and the ever rising taxes,” he said.

In a telephone interview with The Standard, Mr Tulezi accused the State of unfairly targeting the sector, which was among the top taxpayers in the country.

He said the recently introduced Crop Levy, under the Horticulture Crops Regulations, would further affect flower farmers, who were already over-taxed.

Jack Kneppers, a leading flower farmer in Naivasha, said the cost of farm inputs had also risen sharply.

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