Jobs in flower farms at stake as France in lockdown

In Summary

• Kenya exports the larger volumes of its cut flowers to the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.

• France began its second lockdown on Friday, which is expected to be observed up to December.

A worker at Panda flower farm which among flower farms in Flower Business Park that produce 1m stems of roses every day. The management of the park has announced plans to expand its operations starting next year.
Flower production A worker at Panda flower farm which among flower farms in Flower Business Park that produce 1m stems of roses every day. The management of the park has announced plans to expand its operations starting next year.
Image: George Murage

The effect of new containment measures in France has been felt in Kenya as more workers in the flower farms risk losing their jobs.

France began its second lockdown on Friday, which is expected to be observed up to December.

According to the Kenya Flower Council, thousands of farm workers are on the verge of losing their jobs due to closure on sale of 'non-essential' items by supermarkets and florists during the lockdown in France.

The flower council has asked the Kenyan government to urgently engage with the French government to lift the restrictions in order to safeguard thousands of jobs that might be lost.

The council said that the industry was adversely affected by the first lockdown in Europe between March and August, which saw demand for flowers dropped.

“Millions of stems were destroyed at the farm which resulted in a huge loss for the growers. Consequently, farms reduced salaries and manpower, used minimum spray and fertigation, and put some plants and varieties on rest for weeks till the demand picked up,” the council said.

France Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Sunday that supermarkets would be ordered to close sections that sell 'non-essential' items during the lockdown.

The PM also ordered that clothes shops, florists, toy shops, and jewellers which are deemed 'non-essential', will no longer be on sale in supermarkets.

As stated by the Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD), UK, Netherlands and France are the main markets with the UK and France being the primary markets for fresh produce from the country.

Also, Kenya exports the larger volumes of its cut flowers to the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.