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Godino Mwasaru, Waridi creations:

"Kenya: "Adding value by preservation"

Adding value to a flower. It can be done in several ways and this Kenyan company decided to add value by preserving them. "The shelf life of a rose or any other type of flower always remains an issue, so we decided to start preserving the flowers", says Godino Mwasaru of Waridi Creations.

The team of Waridi Creations at the IFTEX in Nairobi, Kenya.

Adding value
Together with his partners Nelson Oware and Jenifer Munguti, Mwasaru started up the company in 2010. "The idea was to add value to fresh flowers, so we came up with a preservation process that keeps the flower fresh looking for years. In order to preserve flowers, the freeze dry method is the most often used method. However, we use an environmental chemical method, which keeps the flower supple and fresh. So, it does not makes it look like a dried flower", he says. The preserving process starts at Kenyan flower farms where the flowers and foliages are cut at a very specific opening stage and are kept fully hydrated till they arrive at the factory. The flowers then pass through a five to six stage process before being dried and packed. "Once the flower is treated with our preservation method, it will last for more than two years and when the box is not opened, the shelf life can be up to five years", he says.

At Waridi Creatons.

Top Kenyan growers
Waridi creations currently preserves roses (with stem and heads only) and greens, which are exported in bulk and bouquets. The flowers are grown by environmentally friendly and fair trade Kenyan farms that are known for their high quality flowers. "We only use the flowers of the top quality export farms like Fontana Group and Subati Flowers. These farms are located at a high altitude which enables them to grow large-headed flowers and which, in turn, enables us to compete with the preserved flowers coming from South America", he says.

Some of the products of Waridi Creations.
Sales to increase
The preserved flowers of Waridi Creations are being exported to Japan, Russia, Poland, Indonesia and Italy. According to Mwasaru, the sales have remained stable over the years, but they experienced a small drop last year. "Last year, we had to deal with the Russian crisis which dropped our volumes to this country by about 10 percent. This year, the sales have gone up by five percent, but we are still exporting less then usual", he says. However, this year Waridi Creations attended the IFTEX in Nairobi, Kenya, and met some new customers, which will probably increase their sales next year. "We met people from Spain, Kazakhstan and from several Arab Countries. These Arab countries like the United Arab Emirates, are new to us and they want to buy our flowers as they found our products higher in quality than the Ecuadorian ones, that they are usually buying", he says. "So, with these new export countries, we expect our sales to increase next year, by around 15 to 20 percent."

The preserved rose heads being prepared for export.

Future plans
In the future, Godino wants to add new products to their assortment. "We want to create jewelry roses." And besides that, they also want to offer more 'finished products'. "We already sell bouquets - which are, together with the roses on stem, in high demand at the moment - but we want to do more. Currently, we send a lot of roses in bulk and then, after arrival, something will be made of them. So, in the future, we want to offer pre-made arrangements."

For more information
Waridi Creations Ltd
Godino Mwasaru
Email: [email protected]