Over the last decennia PJ Dave Group established itself as one of the leading flower exporters from Kenya, growing from two hectares of greenhouse to a total of 215 hectares within 20 years. Out of this acreage 90 hectares is occupied by the red variety Rhodos, a huge acreage for just one variety. We spoke to Mr. Santosh Kulkarni, spokesman to the Dave family, and asked him why.
Kulkarni: “As compared to other Red varieties, Rhodos gives big head sized flowers (5cm to 6.5 cm ) at low altitude. Also, it has a long vase life and it is a good traveler, handling the inevitable stress it is exposed to whilst in boxes comparatively well. Besides, Rhodos is tolerant to most of the diseases like mildews as compared to other red varieties, and that is why we preferred to grow the red variety Rhodos.”
P J Dave grows Rhodos mainly at Isinya, at an altitude of 1600 meters, a place where three farms (P J Dave Flora Ltd, P J Dave Flowers Ltd and Isinya Roses) are located together. “Where to grow what is decided in close consultation with the entire P J Dave family. Since we sell Rhodos all over the world – mainly to Europe, but also Russia, Japan, Australia, the Middle-East and the US are buying – we kept enlarging the acreage.”
To a large extend it is through the success of Rhodos that P J Dave is involved in a variety of CSR activities. “We have sponsored land and the building of the P J Dave Primary school. Also, our company has contributed towards expansion and development of many other schools in Isinya town. We assisted many students by paying their school fees. Also, we are involved in building a secondary school in Isinya Township. All our farms have clinics to provide primary health facilities, and lastly I would like to mention our company has provided water troughs for the Masai community‘s cattle, since the Masai people is the main community around our farms.”
Being one of the big players in rose growing in Africa, the company might be to the appetite of large investment companies. But P J Dave, which is managed by father Dave and his two children, won’t be sold. “The Dave family is engaged in agriculture business from our forefathers. Our forefathers came to Africa to do agriculture business, we have green fingers. We target to expend the business but the group will remain a family run company.”
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PJ Dave Group