Floriculture by definition is the cultivation of flowering plants, sale or personal consumption.
Floristry is the production, commerce, and trade in flowers. It encompasses flower care and handling, floral design or flower arranging, merchandising, and display and flower delivery. Wholesale florists sell bulk flowers and related supplies to professionals in the trade. (Source: Wikipedia)
Kenya was the top African cut-flowers exporter for the longest time until recently, when it’s been overtaken by Ethiopia. The former is the now the fifth largest exporter of cut flowers worldwide after a research was conducted in May 2016. (Source: http://www.worldstopexports.com/flower-bouquet-exports-country/)
Floriculture in Kenya is the second foreign exchange earner after tea. (Source: http://www.kenyarep-jp.com/business/industry/f_index_e.html)
During the course of this personal project, I was able to witness first-hand how the industry in Nairobi functions on a daily. Unfortunately, upon extensive and repeated inquiry, I was unable to visit the flowers farms to take photographs. The main reasons for this as I came to find out from a top agronomist, (name withheld), in Kenya, was,
1. It is believed that there is the abuse of the workers at the farms and as a result, organizations would not want this vital information getting out there for the sake of their reputation.
2. Some local florists are apparently known to offer under par services, i.e. some flower arrangements tend to consist of partly withered flowers, which is not a good look.
As a result, flower farms tend to distance themselves from this and direct their focus to exporting the flowers. It is so bad to the point that the traders actually usually collect the flowers from the gates of the farms, as they are not allowed to go inside the actual farms.
Some of these flower farms can be found in Naivasha, Kiambu, Thika, Kitengela, Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Nyandarua and parts of Eastern Province, which have favorable climatic conditions. There are also a few in Nairobi which are grown in green-houses as the climate in there is controlled.
Below is a documentation of what a normal day would look like for wholesale florists in Nairobi, from the time the flowers are delivered to them to the time they get to the intended customers.
I was fortunate enough to work with a renown florist company here in Nairobi, The Red Petal Florist, located along Moktar Daddah Street, in the Nairobi CBD. The company deals with wholesale flowers ranging from tiger lilies, gerberas, roses, gypsophila (baby’s breath), carnations, bird of paradise, to mention but a few.
They cater to both individuals and organizations. For those special occasions like Valentine’s day, birthdays or anniversaries, they have gone a step further and paired up their flowers with chocolates, bottles of wine, a teddy bear and a gift card. (Contact details: +254-738-823-383 or +254-722-616-008)
In conclusion, from my point of view, I would encourage everyone to consider purchasing flowers from our local florists. It is unfortunate that they a portrayed in a somewhat bad light, especially since I never came across the said substandard flowers that they are accused of selling. Quite the contrary, all I saw were abloom and vibrant flowers.
Let’s support our own.