NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11 – Nairobi will soon have a designated flower market where both vendors and buyers can converge and transact their business, a government official has said.
This follows revelations by the newly appointed Nairobi Metropolitan Development Minister Njeru Githae that a flower market with facilities such as cold rooms would be set up within the City.
“In conjunction with the (Nairobi) City Council, I have undertaken to come up with a formal flower market where everyone will know that if they want flowers that is the place to go,” he said.
He told reporters that the initiative would not only create job opportunities for many vendors but would also help curb (export) flower theft during transportation where refrigerated-lorries carrying the product are opened and a few bunches removed for sale locally.
Mr Githae’s pledge came after he opened a flower show dubbed ‘Soko la maua’ where the Kenya Flower Council (KFC) applauded the move saying it would help develop the local flower market.
The vendors had complained that the lack of a selected place made them vulnerable to city council askaris wrath. The minister also promised to deal with the hawkers menace especially on the city streets which has been blamed for contributing to insecurity, traffic jam among other ills.
Mr Githae said his ministry plans to introduce measures that would regulate the hawking business in the city by providing hawkers with formal and convenient places where they can trade their wares.
“We must recognise that hawkers and vendors are here to stay and what we can do is give them places where there’s a market. If you don’t assign to them areas where there is no market, they will go back to the streets,” the minister explained while appealing for support from his colleagues in government.
He revealed that these plans are contained in a draft policy that the ministry was preparing and which would see them borrow ideas of how to improve the city from other major towns around the world.
“We will copy what they call the ‘free market’ in London where on a weekend you close one road and let the trader to come in and sell their goods,” he added.
Once implemented, he said, these strategies would end what he called ‘primitive’ wars between the askaris and the hawkers and also help boost the city’s revenues.
At the same time, KFC Chairman Kabuya Muito asked the government to go a step further and consider using cut flowers as one of the prominent Kenyan features as they carry out the country’s branding exercise.
He said there was a need to stimulate the consumption of the products locally which would spur the industry’s growth.
“Despite the fact that these flowers are grown here, the usage of flowers has not been growing as fast. As we look to branding Kenya, we would like to see flowers brought in as one of the major faces identifying aspects of Kenya,” he emphasised.
Kenya is the largest supplier of cut flowers into Europe and earns the country an average of Sh43 billion every year.