NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 16 – Flower production in the country is expected to increase threefold once the industry is included under the proposed Special Economic Zones.
Kenya Flower Council (KFC) Chairman Kabuya Muito said on Wednesday that the inclusion of these farms under the zones would enable them to enjoy the various incentives offered in this business environment and therefore grow the industry.
“We are asking the government to hasten policy formulation to ensure that the flower industry is explicitly provided for in the Special Economic Zones Bill. If this were to happen, production would expand, providing jobs and revenues through increased consumption tax and statutory remittances,” he explained.
The Trade ministry is currently facilitating the preparation of a draft Special Economic Zones Bill soon to be tabled in Parliament which when enacted will guide the government in transforming the Export Processing Zones (EPZs) into Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
The implementation of these ideas coupled with the favourable climatic conditions and fertile soils that Kenya enjoys would enable the country to become the most attractive destination for growing high quality flower, the KFC chairman argued.
Currently, Kenya exports about 93,000 tones of flowers annually which is a huge improvement from the 14,000 tonnes of export volumes that was recorded in 1990.
Last year, the floriculture sub-sector earned the country Sh40 billion, a performance which has been attributed to the increased investments in the sector, informed marketing and the availability of air freight.
It is estimated that its takes costs about Sh30 million to grow an acre of flowers and as such approximately Sh60 billion has been pumped towards this venture across the country.
At the council’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), Mr Mutio appealed to the government to intervene by providing designated places where informal florists can sell their products which would also serve to develop the local flower market.
The government has in the past indicated that a flower market with facilities such as cold rooms will be set up within the city where both sellers and buyers can converge and transact their business
Also present in the AGM was Trade Assistant Minister Omingo Magara who however challenged industry players to air their views when policies are being formulated.
“Don’t wait for it to be done for you. Come and engage with Parliament. If you let the laws to be made by lawyers, they will do it the lawyer way; if you want it done for farmers, then they must participate and make their input into those laws,” he advised.
Mr Magara assured of the government’s support to create a conducive environment for the floriculture sub-sector and the entire private sector to operate in so that they can play their role as the engine of growth for the economy.