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Mothers Day joy for Kenyan flower firms

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4 – The flower industry anticipates to recover losses incurred by last month’s airport closures in Europe during the European Mother’s Day this weekend.

Speaking to Capital Business, Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) Chief Executive Dr Stephen Mbithi said demand for flowers was at an all time high adding that sales were generally picking up.

Dr Mbithi was however apprehensive what price the flowers would fetch in the market but is quietly confident they will sell well given price adjustments in Europe to counter rising freight charges.

“We are very happy that Mother’s Day sales are picking and we hope we can use this period to recoup the losses incurred during the volcanic ash situation we had recently,” Dr Mbithi said.

During the seven-day grounding of flights in and out of Europe, the horticulture industry was recording daily losses of $3 million (Sh231.75 million) a day translating to a total loss of $21 million (Sh1.6 billion).

On average, the industry exports close to 1,000 tonnes a day, which was severely affected by the flight restriction.

Dr Mbithi was not of the opinion that Europe would be sourcing for other sources of flowers for its customers arguing the eruption had affected global supply, which was generally acceptable.

“I think our customers understood the situation but now things are stabilising with flights back to normal,” he said.

FPEAK has been able to deal with the backlog realised during the six-day period that flights were grounded and said exports were now running smoothly albeit at a slightly higher price.

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Dr Mbithi said the price adjustment was largely due to high demand for freighters by industry players to clear their backlogs.

“The major challenge was double and triple shipment on some days and huge backlogs to clear competing with other countries for planes to get produce out of the country,” he said.

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