Left Menu
Development News Edition

Kenya's flower exports wither as demand drops amid coronavirus pandemic

Reuters | Nairobi | Updated: 20-03-2020 17:07 IST | Created: 20-03-2020 17:03 IST
Kenya's flower exports wither as demand drops amid coronavirus pandemic
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

An armful of roses would brighten most people's day, but for Kenyan farmer, Inder Nain being surrounded by colorful blooms is a nightmare. His farm is dumping hundreds of thousands of roses after the coronavirus made flower exports collapse.

"We are just clipping the flowers and throwing them away," Nain told Reuters. Usually, the roses would fly from his farm in Kenya's majestic Rift Valley to customers all over the world. But with almost 220,000 cases of coronavirus globally and nearly 9,000 deaths, borders and businesses are shut. Few people are thinking about flowers.

Most of Nain's roses go to an auction in the Netherlands to be sold throughout Europe, to decorate weddings and funerals, given by courting couples or old married folks. But weddings and funerals are mostly on hold as people avoid large crowds. Couples are stockpiling toilet paper and old people are sequestered at home. European leaders are sealing off external borders for at least 30 days in response to the outbreak.

So Nain's roses are going to the rubbish heap. "There is no demand," he said sadly. "If this were to continue for another month, we are looking at a complete shutdown."

Europe accounts for 70% of Kenya's cut-flower exports. The restrictions have slashed daily orders in half, said Clement Tulezi, chief executive of the Kenya Flower Council, an industry body. During a recent trip to Europe, Tulezi said he saw shops just giving away bouquets for free, unable to sell them before they died.

"They (customers) cannot go out and get those flowers because they have fear for their own health," he said. "We have seen flowers being poured out in tonnes, they are just destroyed." The decline in exports will is a blow for Kenya, East Africa's richest economy. Flower exports are one of the top three foreign exchange-earners; they generated 104 billion Kenyan shillings ($1 billion) in sales in 2019. Other sectors like tourism and agriculture are also being battered.

The plunge in exports means jobs are at risk, Tulezi said. The industry employs about 150,000 workers. Most are women because companies think their delicate touch does not damage the blooms. At Nain's farm, 2,000 people usually work to ship 350,000 roses a day all over the globe. Now only 50,000 flowers are going out. His company Xflora group has put half its workers on 15 days of unpaid leave; when they return, the other half will go.

"There is just no more work. Even if we harvest the flowers, what do we do with them?" he said. ($1 = 104.1000 Kenyan shillings)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.



Education post-coronavirus: Schools to rush for more digitalization

Digital education would undoubtedly boom in the post-coronavirus world, supported by educational institutions that have discovered its efficiency during the crisis, but it is still not expected to outshine traditional classroom learning....

Public health care post-COVID 19 to go for revamping, not rebooting

Until now, the economies used to classify healthcare sector under social expenditure. However, the devastation caused by COVID 19 pandemic has upgraded public healthcare on topmost priority and core economic activity for controlling future ...

Coronavirus lockdowns to speed up long-pending revamping of supply chains

With millions of production lines impacted, business disruptions to some extent are unavoidable and the lessons learned from this turbulence will leave an everlasting impact on both global and local levels of supply chains....


Latest News

Instacart, Amazon workers strike as labor unrest grows during coronavirus crisis

Warehouse, delivery and retail gig workers in the United States went on strike on Monday to call attention to safety and wage concerns for people laboring through the coronavirus crisis. Among those were some of the roughly 200,000 workers ...

Airlines line up furloughs; Air New Zealand sees smaller carrier in a year

Major global airlines projected layoffs, furloughs and capacity cuts over the next few months, with Air New Zealand warning that it expected staffing levels to be 30 smaller than it is now, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Airlines have bee...

U.S. Congress eyes next steps in coronavirus response

Three days after passing a 2.2 trillion package aimed at easing the heavy economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Congress was looking on Monday at additional steps it might take as the countrys death toll approached 3,000. Demo...

Venezuela's Maduro says post-pandemic recovery requires OPEC+ deal

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday said an economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic subsides will depend on a deal by the OPEC grouping of the worlds largest oil exporters to guarantee fair prices for crude.Maduro said he...

Give Feedback