Iceland volcano wilting Kenyan flowers

April 19, 2010
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, NYAHURURU, Kenya, Apr 19 – Players in Kenya’s cut flower sub-sector are set to meet on Friday to deliberate on alternative ways of overcoming the global crisis occasioned by the cancellation of flights to Europe over volcanic eruption in Iceland.

The farmers who for the last few days are counting losses following the airport closures in Europe and fear that more losses may be experienced as companies are now being forced to suspend workers until the situation improves.

According to former Kenya Flower Council (KFC) Chairman Erastus Mureithi, the stakeholders in the flowers and horticulture industry are now calling on the government to give them economic stimulus as a consolation to enable them cope with the loss.

“It is unfortunate that the experience caught us unawares and what we are going through is total devastation. We are therefore appealing to the government for some boost as economic stimulus to help us cope with this situation,” said Mr Mureithi, who is also the MP for Ol-Kalou.

Mr Mureithi is a director of Nyahururu-based Suera Flowers Company that has a workforce of 2,000 workers. It produces more than 150,000 stems of flowers per day but due to the crisis, most of them are going to waste as no deliveries are able to reach their destined markets.

A visit by Capital News at the farm revealed that most workers were not attending duty as usual as no harvesting was taking place.
Workers expressed their concern that most of them might be rendered jobless if the situation does not improve.

Speaking to Capital News at the farm on Monday, Mr Mureithi said cold rooms at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport were full and could not accommodate other deliveries.

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