Kenyan grower Sachin Appachu, Bliss Flora:

"More competition in red rose varieties"

The auction prices of cut roses have been very low till last Friday, but this morning they increased. "And the reds in particular", says Sachin Appachu, general manager at Bliss Flora. Over the years, this 35 ha Kenyan rose farm, that mainly supplies the Dutch auction, decided to focus less on the typical 'holiday sales' and more on a good year round availability.


Sachin Appachu in the greenhouse.

Prices red's up
Usually for Christmas, the prices of both, the red and the colored roses increase. This year, actually this morning, the prices increased too but mainly for the red varieties. "The colored roses went up by a few cents. The reds, in contrast, went up by 15 to 20 percent." However, not every red variety seemed to increase in price. "Only a few red varieties have gone up this morning and these are Monte Carlo, Madam Red and EverRed." And according to Appachu, this does not only count for the Christmas sales. "In general, we see an increased competitiveness among the red varieties at the auction."
 
Week later
Compared to last year, the prices went up a week later.
"Last year, the prices started to increase in week 49 and this year in week 50." And regarding the prices, they do not seem to reach the level of last year. "Even though the price increase this morning, the prices of the colored varieties are still 5 to 10 percent lower compared to last year." And the reason of these lower prices and in particular the lower prices for the colored varieties is unclear. "However, I have not seen the full auction for the day. So, the day might end differently." And for the coming weeks, he expects the prices to remain at this level till December 20th.
 
No focus on holidays
It is nice to see the prices increase for such a holiday, but Appachu is not focusing its production on this holiday anymore. "We try to have a good availability of roses year round and we do not flush the crop for a holiday like Christmas. The main reason that, if we flush the crop, we will not have enough volume for Valentine's Day. The lower altitude farms can do it, but we, as we are a high altitude farm, we cannot reach the demanded volumes for Valentine's Day. And also for this day, we do not flush the crop. We do some cuttings here and there, but the production will increase naturally as January and February are the summer months in Kenya. In general, the production increases by 15-20 percent.
 
When the looking back at last years demand and prices Appachu notices that the prices were much higher during the weeks after these holidays. In the first week of January 2016, for example the prices were quite high. And in May the prices were almost similar to Valentine's Day." For these reasons, Appachu decided to not focus on the holiday sales anymore. "It is better to have a good availability year round and when needed to increase the volumes a bit but without hampering the production.
 
For more information
Bliss Flora Ltd
Sachin Appachu
Email: sachin@blissflora.co.ke


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