"Richard Mutuku Mutua: "Interest in our hypericum is overwhelming"

Kenya: Rimi Flora to triple in size

Kenyan hypericum grower Rimi Flora is going to expand their farm in Njoro Nakuru. Currently, they have planted four hypericum varieties of Magical range on 4 ha of land and they are planning to expand it to 7 ha by the end of this year, and to 15ha by end of next year. Besides that, they are also adding the gypsophila My Pink to their assortment.

The team of Rimi Flora at the IFTEX in Nairobi, Kenya.

New farm - higher quality
"We just moved to a new location where we established this new, quite small farm and the interest in our hypericum is overwhelming", says Richard Mutuku Mutua, the Director of Rimi Flora. For years, they were growing hypericum on a 3 ha leased land in Naivasha region. In 2014, they bought their own land and started planting early last year with first production coming in July of 2015. The quality of hypericum attained was very impressive. "On the leased land, we had some wind issues that damaged the crop. On our new site we do not have any wind issues and, as it is situated on a higher altitude, 2,300 meters above sea level as compared to 2,000 meters of the previous site, we can grow a higher quality crop with more intense colors and bigger berries", he says.

Higher demand

And due to this higher quality, they have received significant orders for the upcoming season. "We cannot meet the demand at the moment. So, we have decided to expand the farm to 15ha by end of 2017." Production is expected to gradually increase as they plant additional acreage. "About 800,000 flowers are produced from one hectare per year. And as we will have about 12 ha for the cultivation of hypericums, the volume will increase to about 9.5 million stems a year."

Higher prices
And due to the higher quality and demand, this crop is also receiving higher prices at the auction in the Netherlands. "We receive about 5-10 percent higher prices than the average price. And in the past we often received average prices or about 5 percent below the average prices, because of remarks associated with wind damage on some flowers", says Mutua.

In addition to supplying the auction, Rimi Flora is starting to supply new markets directly. "The season is just starting and we are finalizing the deals with our new direct partners in Japan and Australia. This approach entails more risks, but also higher prices; about 20 to 30 percent higher than what we receive at the auction", he says. In the future, they are planning to increase their direct sales to about 50 percent of their volumes.

Adding gypsophila MyPink
In addition to their hypericum range, Rimi Flora is starting to grow the gypsophila MyPink from the Israeli breeder Danziger. "We have conducted trials with this pink gypsophila and also with a couple of white gypsophila of Danziger. The results of the white were good, but that of the pink was great. Due to the high altitude, the pink color is very intense. And as we would like to stand out from the competition, we choose to start cultivating the Pink only. In the coming year, we will use about 3 ha for the cultivation of this gypsophila", says Mutua.

For more information
Rimi Flora Limited
Richard Mutuku Mutua
Email: Richard@rimiflora.com

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