Gypsophila, sunflower and rosemary are being trialed

Kenya: Aquila expanding with open field flowers

Kenyan rose farm Aquila Flowers is planning to expand its assortment with open field flowers and is planning to put them on the market in larger numbers by next year. Currently, gypsophila, sunflower and rosemary are being trialled on 0.5 ha each. "We will test the cultivation and the demand of each variety first for about one year. Then, we decide to increase the acreage or not", says Sitaram Hembade, Production Manager at Aquila Flowers.


Satiram Hembade in front of the 28 ha greenhouse of Aquila Flowers.

Direct supply to Europe
Aquila Flowers grows 12 varieties of roses in a 28ha greenhouse in the Naivasha region in Kenya. For 2.5 years now, they are supplying the market directly. Their main market is Europe and smaller volumes also go to South Africa and Australia. 


Trial area

Expanding assortment
Recently, Aquila Flowers decided to expand its assortment and not with roses, but with open field flowers. They have set up trials with three varieties, gypsophila, sunflower and rosemary. "These flowers do not require large investments like a greenhouse, but they enable us to offer a wider assortment and even gives us the opportunity to start supplying our own bouquets", says Hembade.


Aquila's 0.5 ha gypsophila field.

Trial for one year
Of each variety, they planted around 0.5 ha. "We start on a small scale and test each variety carefully for about one year. Then, according to the market demand we decide to increase the acreage or not."

Rosemary in bouquets
Gypsophila and sunflowers are common flowers for bouquets. Rosemary, in contrast, are not, but Hemade has high hopes for this variety. "Greens are increasingly more used in bouquets and scent is becoming an increasingly more important feature. Rosemary, can be used as a filler in a bouquet and can give scent to the entire bouquet", he says.

0.5 ha rosemary trial field.

A peek in the rose farm
During the IFTEX flower show week, where Aquila Flowers showcased their products along with many other Kenyan flower growers in Nairobi, we had the chance to visit some growers in the Naivasha region and Aquila Flowers was one of the farms that we visited. They opened their doors and showed us, next to the trial area of their open field flowers, the process from cultivation till packaging. Below some photos to give you an impression of this farm and its processes.


A walk in between the greenhouses.


In the, in total 28ha, greenhouse, 12 rose varieties are being cultivated.


Right when the flowers come from the farm, they are being cooled in this cold store.


Isaac Sabatia, manager of the grading hall at Aquila Flowers. After the flowers have been cooled, they are graded in this area. In total, the farm employs 700 workers.

For more information
Aquila Flowers
Sitaram Hembade
Email: pm@aquilaflowers.com
www.aquilaflowers.com



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