Consumers in Europe have cut spending on Kenyan flowers amid a cost of living spike in the western world that has forced households to drop essential purchases such as food and drinks, threatening thousands of jobs locally. The runaway inflation is eroding the consumer purchasing power in those markets, the Kenya Flower Council says, with households and businesses cutting down on less essential buys such as cut flowers.

The decline in exports is a blow to Kenya as the industry faces the sharpest earnings fall in a decade.  Horticulture is a major source of foreign exchange for Kenya alongside tea, tourism, and remittances and the industry employs over 150,000 workers.

KFC, a lobby representing large-sized growers, fears that the surging cost of living in Europe together with the weakening euro and the sterling pound has dashed hopes of full recovery of the sector from the effects of Covid-19 restrictions. Small flower farms lose 20pc produce on tight export space

“We were optimistic at the beginning of the year and we were looking at full recovery in 2022 because we had seen good signs in 2021 in terms of sales,” KFC chief executive Clement Tulezi told the Business Daily. “But when the Russian war came, we were subjected to high prices of fuel and other inputs coupled with inflation in Europe and weakening of the currency we use for international trade.”

Kenya’s floriculture industry enjoys a relatively long high season, which runs from September through May, peaking in February as flower farmers maximize on the festive season, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

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