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The Flower Industry in Kenya

Kisima Farm in Laikipia
  1. Background
  2. Kenya Flower Council
  3. Kenya Flower Council Certification Scheme

Background

Kenya's economy largely relies on the agriculture sector. Horticulture sub-sector is one of the top foreign exchange earners for the country generating approximately US $ 1 billion annually. In 2015, the sub-sector contributed 1.45% to the national GDP while flower exports contributed 1.01% was from the flower industry. It has grown in significance to a vibrant flower industry worldwide.

It has recorded growth in volume and value of cut flowers exported every year from 10,946 tons in 1988 compared to 86,480 tons in 2006, 120,220 tons in 2010 136, 601 tons in 2014 and 122,825 in 2015. According to Horticultural Crop Directorate (HCD) in 2015, the floriculture industry earned Kenya Shillings 62.9 billion.

Kenya is the lead exporter of rose cut flowers to the European Union (EU) with a market share of 38%. Approximately 50% of exported flowers are sold through the Dutch Auctions, although direct sales are growing. In the United Kingdom, supermarkets are the main outlets. Over 25% of exported flowers are delivered directly to these multiples, providing an opportunity for value addition at source through sleeving, labelling and bouquet production. Kenya flowers are sold in more than 60 countries.

It is estimated that in Kenya, over 500,000 people, including over 100,000 flower farm employees depend on the floriculture industry impacting over 2 million livelihoods.

The main production areas are around Lake Naivasha, Mt. Kenya, Nairobi, Thika, Kiambu, Athi River, Kitale, Nakuru, Kericho, Nyandarua, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu and Eastern Kenya. Kenya Flower Council Members.

The main cut flowers grown in Kenya are roses, carnations, and Alstromeria. Other flowers cultivated include, Gypsophilla, Lilies Eryngiums, arabicum, hypericum, Statice, a range of summer flowers amongst many others.

The industry continues to attract investors due to solid infrastructure, favourable climate, global-positioning of Kenya and a productive workforce. It comprises large, medium and small scale producers who have attained high management standards and have invested heavily in value addition through adoption of modern technology in production, precision farming and marketing.

The farmers utilize technologies some of which includes drip irrigation, fertigation systems, greenhouse ventilation systems, net shading, pre-cooling, cold storage facilities, grading, bouqueting, fertilizer recycling systems to prevent wastage, wetlands for waste water treatment, artificial lighting to increase day length, grading/packaging sheds, and refrigerated trucks.

On the global front, a growth of 5% is anticipated every year over the next five years. To be a part of this opportunity, Kenya is going to continue investing and expansion in growth rate than previous years.

Going forward, the industry will continue benchmarking itself against other producer countries. Information thus gathered will be useful in formulating strategies, to capture prospects of expansion in current and emerging markets.

Kenya Flower Council (KFC)

The Kenya Flower Council is a voluntary association of independent growers and exporters of cut-flowers and ornamentals, established in 1996, with the aim of fostering responsible and safe production of cut flowers in Kenya with due consideration of workers welfare and protection of the environment.
Against this background the Council has become the focal point for industry representation, promotion, and compliance to pertinent local and international standards deemed necessary to secure, expand and sustain markets.

MEMBERSHIP

  1. Producer Members – involved in the production of flowers & ornamentals. To date stands at 97 farms / firms.
  2. Associate Members – organizations that supply various products and services to the industry and are currently 71. This category attracts both local and international organizations.

Kenya Flower Council Membership includes small, medium and large flower growers spanning from 0.25 acres to 230 hectares, in line with our strategic plan to ensure an all-inclusive representation of the floriculture industry.

LOBBYING AND INDUSTRY PROMOTIONS

On behalf of Members, the Council liaises with governments, development agencies, media, trade bodies, unions, civil society, non-governmental organizations, partners, market organizations and other stakeholders on specific sector issues to create an enabling environment for the floriculture industry locally and abroad.

With cooperation and support of associate members and other partners, the Council organizes and participates in industry promotion events in Belgium, UK, Holland, USA, Italy, Japan, Germany, Korea, Russia, and France. The Council also participates in international flower fairs and promotions across Europe including Germany, Holland, Russia, Japan, Korea, Kenya and USA.

The Council has a solid engagement with the Government of Kenya through different Ministries including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, whereby KFC is represented in the Bilateral and Multilateral trade negotiations e.g. EU / East African communities (EAC) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs), AGOA, COMESA etc. KFC actively participates in the National Task Force for Horticulture as well as ministerial sector forums. Other Ministries in this network include the Ministries of National Treasury; Water, Irrigation and Natural Resources; Interior; Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries; East African Affairs Commerce and Tourism and Labour and Social Security Services. We are also an active member of Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and Agricultural Employers Association (AEA).

At the international level, the Council networks with key partners and development stakeholders such as the COLEACP, GLOBALG.A.P., Union Fleurs, Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI), Global Social Compliance Program (GSCP), Horticulture Council of Africa (HCA), European Development Fund (EDF), Dutch Government, British High Commission, and USAID.

CERTIFICATION SCHEME

The Kenya Flower Council Certification Scheme is guided by an Accredited Quality System Regulations that defines the management, auditing and certification process. Producer Members subscribe to the Flowers and Ornamentals Sustainability Standard (F.O.S.S) audited annually.

Producers are awarded either Silver or Gold Certificate after complying with all the requirements of the certification category applied for.

The F.O.S.S is based on environmental and socio-economic principles which ensure certified producers foster sustainable, responsible and safe production of cut flowers and ornamentals. The Standard covers governance, good agricultural practice, human resource management and workers welfare, health & safety, environmental protection & conservation, and post-harvest management.

In early 2016, the F.O.S.S was added in the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) basket of Sustainable Standards. Compared with other recognized standards on the International Trade Centre (ITC) Standards Map, the F.O.S.S stands out as one of the most robust standards in the basket so far. The Standard has also been benchmarked with GLOBALG.A.P. FO version 4 as equivalent. The Certification Scheme works in partnership with other certification scheme stakeholders in flower business e.g. UK Supermarkets (TESCO PLC, Sainsbury, Waitrose, e.t.c); Flower Auctions in the EU, Japan, and USA. The Standard also embraces the requirements of the International Code of Conduct (ICC), the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI).

Over the last 20 years the Council has continually reviewed the Standard in line with emerging issues, and we are proud to note the standard is now internationally recognized through the FSI and the ITC standards map.

THE VISION: "To be the lead organization in the provision of representational, self-regulation and promotion services for the floriculture industry in Kenya."

THE STRATEGY: Active participation in the formulation and implementation of policies governing sustainable development of the floriculture sector

THE MISSION: To promote economic, social and political interests of the floriculture industry through active participation in the determination and implementation of policies governing sustainable development of the sector

Core Values:
KFC is guided by the values of integrity, transparency, accountability competency and professionalism to foster:

  • responsible and safe production of cut flowers and related products with due regard to the interest of the markets, community and the environment
  • safe working environment for all farm staff
  • business compliance with the laws of Kenya
  • operation within the highest level of accountability and transparency

The Kenya Flower Council Certification Scheme

Kenya Flower Council Certification Scheme is guided by an Accredited Quality System Regulations that defines the management, auditing and certification process. Producer Members subscribe to the Flowers and Ornamentals Sustainability Standard (F.O.S.S) and are audited annually.

The F.O.S.S is based on environmental and socio-economic principles which ensure certified producers foster sustainable, responsible and safe production of cut flowers and ornamentals. The Standard covers good agricultural practice, human resource management and workers welfare, good governance, health & safety, environmental protection & conservation, and post-harvest management. The Standard also embraces the requirements of the International Code of Conduct (ICC) and Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI).

Producer Members are awarded either Silver or Gold Certificate after complying with all the requirements of the certification category applied for.

Silver Certification is mandatory for all the producer members while Gold Certification is voluntary.

Audit Reference Documents:

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • Quality System Regulations (QSR) & Procedures
  • Flowers and Ornamentals Sustainability Standard – Gold & Silver categories
  • Flowers and Ornamentals Sustainability Standard – Appendices
  • Flowers and Ornamentals Sustainability Standard – Audit Checklists

Auditing & Certification Process:

  1. After joining the KFC Membership, a pre-audit is conducted within 6 months to familiarize the producer with F.O.S.S standard requirements.
  2. The new member is given one year to implement the requirement of the Silver Certification level.
  3. The 1st Certification audit is conducted at least by end of one year after joining KFC membership.
  4. Producer Members thereafter apply for certification annually by completing the audit application forms.
  5. An audit is conducted depending on the Certification Category applied for i.e. Silver or Gold certification.
  6. Producer Members are given 28 days to address non-compliances identified during the audit, failure to which sanctions are raised as guided by the System Regulation Auditing Procedures.
  7. A follow-up audit review is conducted after the 28 days to ensure all the non-compliances raised during the audit are satisfactorily closed, and that the producer has put in place effective mitigation measures that are to ensure continued compliance.
  8. Certification Decision is made by an independent 12 Member Certification Committee comprising key industry players to ensure impartiality and credibility.
  9. A one year Certificate is issued by the Certification Committee to the deserving members.
  10. As part of surveillance, un-announced audits are conducted to 10% of all the certified members annually for sustainability.

Audit methodology:

An audit is conducted through records & documents review, inspection of farm facilities, and workers interviews from the various farm sections.

Flowers and Ornamentals Sustainability Milestones:

  • 1996 – The Kenya Flower Council Code of Practice is formulated.
  • 2003 – 2008 the Council initiated the process of achieving accreditation for the Certification Scheme System Regulation – accreditation granted by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) in August 2008.
  • 2005 – Mutual recognition of "Equivalent" status achieved with the GLOBALG.A.P. Flowers & Ornamentals Standard after a successful benchmarking of the Council certification scheme. Subsequent re-benchmarking have been going on with the revised GLOBALG.A.P Standards – currently pursuing the version 5.0 re-benchmarking.
  • 2015 – Successful alignment of the KFC Flowers & Ornamentals Sustainability Standard with the Global Social Compliance Program (GSCP) – the highest benchmark for social accountability.
  • 2015 - KFC Flowers & Ornamentals Sustainability Standard included in the International Trade Centre (ITC) Standards Map for accessibility and comparison with other recognized market standards.
  • 2016 – The KFC Flowers & Ornamentals Sustainability Standard included in the Flowers Sustainability Initiative (FSI) basket of sustainable standards.