NAIROBI, May 27 (Xinhua) — Kenya’s flower exports increased from 20 percent to 65 percent of normal levels in the last one month after some European Union countries relaxed their lockdown regulations, the industry association said on Wednesday.
Clement Tulezi, CEO Kenya Flower Council (KFC), said there are high hopes that production will hit 80 percent by the end of the year as the sector recovers from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have been one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic and we project that we shall return to normal business by mid next year,” he said.
The EU trading bloc absorbs approximately 70 percent of the east African nation’s flower exports which are among the country’s leading foreign exchange earners.
Tulezi said that the floriculture sector is currently facing challenges in accessing cargo flights to transport the perishable goods to the EU.
“Currently our weekly demand is 2,800 tons per week but we can only export 1,000 tons due to lack of flights and the high charges,” he said.
He observed that about 50 percent of the permanent staff of flower farms were now back on duty, adding that farmers were working to bring others on board.
“Flower farmers did not sack any workers but they were sent home on unpaid leave and we have started the process of getting them back as demand for flowers rise,” he said.
Earlier, Jack Kneppers, the owner of Maridadi flower farm, said that they were shipping out flowers four times a week, unlike in the past when daily production went to waste.
The farmer attributed this to the reopening of the Dutch auction and some supermarkets in Europe where they shipped the majority of their flowers. Enditem
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