Kenya: Flower farms face turbulence as more companies close down

The floriculture industry, one of Kenya's foreign exchange-earners, is facing new threats and turbulence with a couple of farms closing down, writes Antony Gitonga in 

Others are scaling down their operations. Punitive taxes, high cost of farm inputs, double taxation, rising labor wages, stagnant prices, and high freight charges are some of the key challenges facing the sector. The Covid-19 pandemic worsened the situation, making the flower exports stall. Some farmers are yet to recover from the losses. 

To cut losses, some farms have scaled-down operations as others resorted to outsourcing various services leading to major jobs losses.

According to the Kenya Flower Council (KFC), the thorns, and not the roses in the hundreds of greenhouses were sticking out like a sore thumb as farmers tried to come to terms with the harsh economic times.

According to Council Chief Executive Clement Tulezi, lack of support from the government pushed the farmers to the wall. He said the third-largest foreign exchange earner employs thousands of people directly and indirectly with little support from the government.

“We have seen sectors like tea, sugar, and coffee get tax waivers from the government but in the floriculture sector, we are forgotten despite the billions of shillings that we bring in every year,” he said.

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