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How a Kenyan flower producer bloomed through COVID-19

One cold morning in April, as Esleen Rotich walked up a dirt road that led to the manicured lawns of Equator Flowers farm, she could sense that something was off. On ordinary mornings, when she would arrive for her 7:20 a.m. shift, the farm was usually silent as employees worked quietly at their stations. But this morning, she heard chattering voices. She also noticed her colleagues huddled near a pit.

Rotich, team leader of a production unit on the farm, changed into her blue overalls, put on her face mask—a permanent addition now to her work gear—and squeezed her feet into black flat-heeled boots. She moved quickly toward the group, curiosity churning her insides. What she saw shocked her.

‘‘My colleagues and I watched in disbelief as over 1 million stems of roses we had carefully tended were dumped into a pit,’’ she said.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, its impact on businesses and sectors has been dramatic—and dramatically different. Some companies, such as delivery services or grocery stores, have found new opportunity and a spike in growth. Many more have faced devastation, not knowing how long they could survive but also knowing that they needed to put in place remedial actions to stay alive as long as possible.

Read more at IFC (Gloria Mwaniga)


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