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Paul Wekesa of Kenyan rose farm Panocal:

Auction prices yellow, orange roses hit critical low

"Usually, the volumes and prices of the orange and yellow colored roses go down in the run-up to Christmas, but the prices are so low at the moment that we decided to stop shipping them out", says Paul Wekesa of Panocal, a 38ha Kenyan rose farm that mainly supplies the auction. According to Wekesa the decrease in price started around 10 days ago and he assumes that the snow in Germany and the Netherlands over the last days made it worse.

Paul Wekesa, Mercy Njugua and Boniface Kiama presenting cut rose variety Belle Rose at the IFTF in Vijfhuizen, the Netherlands.

Stopped shipping orange and yellow
Panocal supplies around 70 percent of its flowers to the auction in the Netherlands and currently, Wekesa is not pleased with the prices of the yellow and orange 40 cm roses. In general, the auction prices of these colors decrease a bit at the end of November and the beginning of December; to around 12 cents. Currently, however, the prices are lower; around 8 to 9 cents. We usually stop shipping out the roses when the prices go below 10 cents, so we are not shipping them out now either." At Panocal, around 8 ha of the farm is planted with orange and yellow varieties.

Snow in the Netherlands
Wakesa assumes that the snow in the Netherlands and Germany plays a role in the decrease in prices. "It is challenging for the cargo agencies to get the flowers at the destination. The snow forced some airports to cancel some flights - and therefore forced cargo agencies to divert some flowers to other airports - and the slippery roads to the destinations in Germany and the Netherlands all resulted in delays. I assume this situation affects the confidence of the buyers and therefore decreases the demand."

Whites and reds
Also the roses with the typical Christmas colors, like red, white and creme are receiving lower prices at the auction, but fortunately, Panocal supplies the majority of these roses to the direct market. "We will receive the pre-ordered prices. Any extra roses, we will put on the clock."

Better weather
According to Wekesa, getting the flowers to their destination is still challenging, but the weather forecast seems to be better for next week. "I spoke to the auction this morning and they told me that the temperatures are expected to be higher next week. Then, the roads will clear up and I think the confidence of the buyers will increase too because the flowers can reach the destinations again."