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Kenya: AAA Roses expands Bellissima rose production with 10 haAAA Roses is expanding its one-year-old high altitude farm with 10 ha. By the end of this year, this Kenyan farm hopes to cultivate their Bellissima branded roses on 30 ha. The farm, named Chui farm, started the rose production in February 2016 and is focused on long stem and large headed new varieties that they mainly ship to the Netherlands. Due to the good reception of their brand and new varieties, they decided, already within 12 months of its first production, to expand the greenhouse. With this expansion, the total production area of AAA across all farms will increase to a total of 70ha.
Farah Shamji at the IFTEX 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Over 60% of varieties new to Kenyan market
Owner Ariff and Farah Samji saw a good market for Kenyan roses with large stems and big head sizes in Europe and therefore decided to establish a 20 ha high altitude farm in 2015. This farm, named Chui Farm, is located on the Timau mountain on an altitude of 2,500 meters above sea level. In February 2016, they started to produce roses and launched all their products under the brand 'Bellissima'. Next to the fact that they can produce roses with a head size up to 8 cm, they also have a broad range of new varieties. "Over 60% of the varieties were new to the Kenyan market and therefore we had a wonderful opportunity to introduce a new and exciting product to the European Market", says Shamji. About 80 percent are supplied to the Royal FloraHolland auction in Naaldwijk, the Netherlands, and the rest to the Middle East & Australia.
Flowers ready for Valentine's Day
Due to the good reactions and good results, AAA Roses decided to expand the greenhouse. "The reception of the new brand and the new varieties has been so strong that already within 12 months of first production we have embarked on an expansion program for Chui", says Shamji. So, currently the additional 10 ha is being build. "We hope to have everything set up and planted by the end of the year, with first flowers from the new expansion ready for Valentines 2018."
Dam to deal with drought
Over the last months, Kenyan growers were hit by the drought and are therefore not able to expand the farm. Fortunately, Chui Farm is able to expand. "We have been very lucky that we built a huge dam and have managed to collect good rainfall and so far have managed to irrigate from the 100% of the rain harvested water. The farm also has boreholes which are good yielding, and therefore we are even covered in case the drought persists."
Low production due to cold nights
At the moment, the production at Chui Farm is low and according to Shamji this is due to the cold nights. "It significantly dropped our production; we are down about 25% from where we should be. However with the European market now enjoying summer the demand has dropped off and so far, demand is still meeting supply and prices are slightly improved from last year the same time."
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