The Kenya Flower Council (KFC) laments that the recent lockdowns across Europe are a blow to Kenya’s flower subsector. According to KFC CEO, Clement Tulezi, thousands of flower workers’ jobs hang in jeopardy following fresh lockdowns in England, Germany, and France.
He is worried that the ongoing second lockdown will lead to reduced orders saying that prices on the auction have dropped by 20 percent. Tulezi adds that Kenya flower orders at the Royal FloraHolland’s auction in the Netherlands have fallen by 20 percent occasioned by the significant decline in demand from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and France.
Last Friday, France began its second lockdown in just seven months in a nationwide effort to curb the resurgence of COVID19 infections, expected to last until at least December 1. Supermarkets were ordered to close sections that sell non-essential items with the directive affecting clothes shops, florists, toyshops, and jewelers.
According to the Horticultural Crops Directorate, the European Union is Kenya’s principal market in horticultural export produce with the UK, Netherlands, and France being the main markets.
Tulezi adds that the first lock down in Europe between March and August adversely affected the flower export industry. A slump in demand saw millions of stems destroyed, rise in loses for growers, and reduction in salaries and manpower across board.
Tulezi calls on the Kenyan government to hold stakeholder engagement with the European authorities to lift these restrictions to safeguard jobs for thousands of Kenya flower workers. He said that there are talks with partners in Europe to push for listing of flowers as essential products in order to maintain sales margins during the peak season.