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Sachin Appachu, Bliss Flora:

"Kenya: "Auction prices almost similar to Valentine's Day"

"For the past two weeks, the prices have been fantastic. They almost reached the same level of Valentine's Day, earlier this year", says Sachin Appachu, general manager at Bliss Flora, a Kenyan 35 ha sized rose farm. According to Appachu, the main reason for this high price is the combination of the upcoming French and Polish Mother's Days and the lower rose supply of Kenyan farms to the auction.

Sachin Appachu in the greenhouse.

Higher prices
Appachu is very pleased with the prices that he is receiving for his roses at the moment. "Over the last two weeks we received good prices at the auction in the Netherlands. This Monday and Tuesday for example, the prices were about 23 percent higher compared to last year. Almost the same level of Valentine's Day last year! Today, the prices are a bit lower, like 10 to 15 percent. All the wholesalers probably have already bought their flowers for the upcoming Mother's Days. But all in all, we are not complaining", he says.

Heavy rains
Besides the Mother's Days, also the heavy rains contributed to the higher prices at the auction. "Here in Kenya, we are dealing with a lot of rainfall. Therefore, the production volumes of many farmers dropped by around 30 percent. Moreover, the rains also increased the occurrence of diseases like botrytis and downy mildew. For this reason, many growers were not able to export everything. Fortunately, our farm has not yet been hit by any of these diseases", he says.

Unexpected demand for Ocean Song
According to Appachu, all varieties are doing well. However, there is one variety that stands out; the Ocean Song. This lilac rose variety, bred by Rosen Tantau, increased drastically in price. ''Last year, we received like 30 cents per stem and this year 70! We are quite surprised as we never received such a high price for this variety. Last year, we even decided to decrease the cultivation acreage of this flower from 2,5 to 1,5 ha, because of the price. And now it is booming and we are regretting this decision", he says. However, the reason for this high popularity is still unclear. "I hear from more Kenyan Ocean Song growers that the prices are good. Maybe it is a trend to use this color in weddings in Europe? We do not know."

For more information
Bliss Flora Ltd
Sachin Appachu
Email: [email protected]