Kenyan smallholder farmers embrace cultivation of flowers amid rising export revenues

Located in Kenya's central highlands, Martin Gitau believes that his mid-sized farm has an ideal location for the cultivation of summer flowers. The 39-year-old father of two has been growing arabicum flowers since 2019 on his half-acre piece of land that is situated in Nyandarua, about 130 kilometers northwest of Kenya's capital, Nairobi.

Gitau told Xinhua on Monday that he was introduced to the cultivation of the crop by a colleague at his former workplace where he was a clerk. "Growing of arabicum is a profitable venture because it takes three months to mature and has a ready market," said Gitau.

Summer flowers are typically grown only in summer in northern European countries but can be cultivated throughout the year in Kenya due to abundant sunshine. The most common summer flowers in Kenya include arabicum, craspedia, and eryngium and are used to blend other flowers in order to make a bouquet.

Gitau said that he was convinced to begin his flower enterprise because of the contract he signed with a flower exporter who guarantees to buy all the produce so long as it meets international standards. He said that by becoming an outgrower for an established large-scale export firm, he receives high-quality seeds and training that enables him to succeed in business.

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