One of the most important roads for the Naivasha flower industry have been blocked for two days by protestors, who demanded rehabilitation of the road, causing millions of Kenyan Shillings in losses for the industry. We spoke about this matter with Clement Tulezi of the Kenya Flower Council (KFC). KFC does not feel the flower industry is being taken seriously by the government. The council is however doing its utmost to engage with government officials to get the road fixed as soon as possible.
Naivasha is the heart of the flower industry in Kenya. When talking about the flowers grown in Kenya, 60% is grown in Naivasha and around 90% of the farms - as well as many hotels - are located on the Moi South Lake Road, making it one of the most important roads for in the country. For several years, the road should have been repaired, but so far, nothing has been done by the government. The public is very frustrated. Itbdecided to protest on the road on Monday September 23 and Tuesday September 24. In turn, the battle between the demonstrators and the police resulted in blockage of the road.
This resulted in enormous loses for the flower industry. "The daily earnings for the flower industry are approximately half a billion Kenyan Shillings, and during these two days, we lost up to 3 million Kenyan Shillings", explains Tulezi. "Not only could the workers not go to their jobs, the flowers could not go to the airport either. In this country, flower growers provide 150,000 jobs, and in Naivasha there are about 80,000 workers."
The government announced that a contractor would be on site by October 15 to rehabilitate the road (as reported in The Star). It is said that the protests will continue every Monday until the road is fixed, and this means that losses will add up. Tulezi is frustrated that this may not be the case.
"The government has been promising for several years now that it would fix the road, but nothing has happened yet. The patch work has been shoddy throughout. If protest continue, losses for the industry will rise. So far, the relevant government ministry hasn't said anything and it seems like our industry - that is the second biggest industry in Kenya - is not being taken seriously."
"The highest government officials in the ministry should make the decision soon and instruct the next course of action- not the Kenya Rural Road Authority. KFC wants a quick response and solution. We do not want to wait until the next demonstration on Monday as the industry is suffering. Another demonstration will mean another loss - not only financially, but flower farms will also risk losing trust from their clients in the market due to inconsistent supply." .