The Chinese rose cultivation is increasing and the quality is improving, so is there still room for imported flowers from Kenya? According to Isabelle Henin Spindler of Red Lands Roses, there is. They are supplying this country for about 5 years now and even though the increasing competition from the local market and some logistical challenges, they are still able to grow exports to this country.
Isabelle Henin Spindler and Rita Wanjiku at the Hortiflorexpo IPM Shanghai 2019.
Not so much in spray
Over the last years, the Chinese rose cultivation increased and improved. Isabelle feels the competition from the local market a bit more than five years ago - when they just entered China - but it is still relatively low. “They are not so much in spray roses, and are not that familiar with the odd colors and garden types. We are specialized in the cultivation of spray roses in all different kinds of colors and types, which gives us a head start. On top of that, we are able to supply quality and as an imported rose is much more expensive than the Chinese product, a high quality product is essential and probably most important.”
Freight to Kenya – China
When entering the market, Red Lands Roses was, like most other companies, dealing with the language and cultural barrier. Now, however, they are still dealing with another major challenge which is shipping the roses from Kenya to China. There are no direct flights yet, which is according to Isabelle limiting the possibility to exploit this market. “The lack of freight affects our competitiveness, the vase life and product quality and the capacity to fulfill the high demand for special event periods.” Unfortunately, on the short term she does not see this changing. "As there is no cargo lifted from China to Kenya most of the Chinese imported products go by sea."
Further to grow
For five years now, Red Lands Roses is shipping spray roses to China and is participating at the Hortiflorexpo IPM Shanghai for the fourth time. Through the exhibitions, they meet their new and existing customers and give one per state the exclusivity to sell their products. This strategy is working out well and Isabelle sees good opportunities to grow further. “China is a large country with a lot of states, so I expect to grow further in this country the coming years."