FRESH PRODUCE

Flower farmers concerned over fertiliser shortage

Sector currently facing shortage of fertilizer

In Summary

•Kenya is among the top leading flower producers

•The main market at the moment is Europe

A worker at Panda flower farm which among flower farms in Flower Business Park that produce 1m stems of roses every day.
Flower farms A worker at Panda flower farm which among flower farms in Flower Business Park that produce 1m stems of roses every day.
Image: George Murage

Flower farmers are concerned there could be a major drop in production in the coming months occasioned by fertiliser shortage.

According to the The Agricultural Employers Association (AEA) the hitch could lead to closure of farms and job losses as the cost of production and an acute shortage of fertiliser continues to hit the country.

Flower farmers are currently faced with a shortage of nitrate calcium fertiliser.

It said apart from the challenges flower farmers, livestock farmers have also been been hit by scarcity of animal feed.

AEA first vice chairman Wilson Odiyo said the sector is currently undergoing several challenges adversely affecting production.

“The floriculture sector remains one of the largest single employers but unfortunately the government has forgotten us leading to a major crisis,” he said.

Speaking in Naivasha during the association's meeting, Odiyo said that coupled with fertiliser shortage, the availability of cargo freights and the soaring prices of fuel had also greatly affected the sector. 

He also revisited the recent move to review the minimum wage noting that employers in the sector are already paying above the government set levels.

“We have engaged the government on various occasions over the emerging challenges but the response is wanting,” he said.

A member of the association Tom Ochieng warned of job losses and closures of unless the current situation is addressed.

He said that in the last two years the cost of freight has tripled while cost of production continues rising thus affecting their expansion plans.

“Most of these farms are located in rural areas where hundreds have been employed and if things don’t change this will lead to job losses and even closure of the firms,” he said.

The association's CEO Wesley Siele lauded the government's move to import duty free maize saying this would ease the production of animal feeds.