[27th April 2012]


His Excellency Amb. Benson Ogutu on Monday 23rd April, 2012 toured the leading Flower Auction House in Tokyo, Japan. During the tour, Ambassador Ogutu noted that in Japan's 150 Flower auctions, the Ota Floriculture Auction is the largest in terms of scope and volume, and the world's third largest after the Flora Holland and Landgard auction in Germany. The auction avails cut flowers, potted plants, seedlings, turf, etc for wholesale buyers in the Japan market strictly in accordance with Japanese regulations.
Ota Floriculture Auction coordinates shipping and handling of merchandise from the producers, organizes auctions and facilitates trans-shipments to the purchasers at a commission payable by the suppliers. In a field where product freshness and quality are key, Ota has created a highly efficient logistics network utilizing state-of-the-art computerized auction and information processing systems.

During the visit Mr. Ueda and Mr. Namba briefed His Excellency the Ambassador on import statistics regarding Japan's flower import from Kenya. According to them, Kenya's top 5 export items to Japan include roses, hypericaceae, caryophyllaceae, eryngium, and gypsophila. In 2011, Kenya was the biggest rose exporter in Japan (20,057,578 stems) with the Ota auction receiving 1,689,109 stems of Kenyan roses at a cost of JPY 117,470,536.00

Furthermore the Ambassador learnt that the Japanese flower market is quite stable although local flower supplies are shrinking. This means that the potential is high for increasing flower import from overseas. The Kenyan rose has particularly enjoyed a high reputation in the Japanese market due to its long life and big flowers.

Unfortunately, Kenya is unable to reduce the cost of its flower exports to Japan due to lack of direct flights to Nairobi and Narita. Despite the handicap many Japanese importers have started to import fresh flowers directly from Kenya via Dubai and other international Hubs. Traditionally, Japanese importers used to purchase their Kenyan flowers from the Dutch auction. But as a result of the rose imports from Kenya and the country's No. 1 ranking in 2011, other types of flowers from Kenya are expected to increase in the local market.

Left to right, Mr. Toshimasa Namba, Senior Manager, Classic Japan Ltd; Kenya's Ambassador in Tokyo, H.E. Benson H.O. Ogutu; Mr. Jun Ueda, Director, Ota Floriculture Auction Co., Ltd. and Mr. Mamoru Hirai, President, Kokusai Kaihatsu Kosan Co., Ltd.

Left to right, Mr. Mr. Mamoru Hirai, President, Kokusai Kaihatsu Kosan Co., Ltd., H.E. Amb. Benson H.O. Ogutu, Mr. Jun Ueda Pose for a group photograph at Ota Floriculture Auction Co., Ltd.

Kenya's Ambassador, H.E. Amb. H.O. Ogutu holds discussions with Mr. Nobuo Isomura, C.E.O., Ota Floriculture Auction Ltd.

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