Since 2013, Flora Delight is growing hydrangeas in Kenya year-round. They quickly gained traction in the market as demand for these hydrangeas skyrocketed. Currently supplying them all over the world, and over the last years, they have been expanding their assortment with chrysanthemums, lisianthus, gerbera and they are currently trialing celosia. Offering a complete package was the reason for the expansion of their assortment, and their more intensive hydrangea cultivation, with which they started several years ago, enabled them to do so. "We still have 18ha in production, and we now supply almost all our products directly", says Frans Ederveen, who started trialing the first hydrangeas in 2011 with his business partner Marco Sandijk.
Marco Sandijk and Frans Ederveen at IFTEX 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Hydrangeas year round
It all started in 2007 when these two Dutchmen established their business in Kenya. They started out with ranunculus and some summer flowers but quickly noticed the potential of growing hydrangeas year-round. "The 52 weeks of sunshine made us decide to start trialing the crop in 2011, after years of adjusting the crop to the Kenyan climate." And it confirmed their expectations. "As soon as we saw the results, we were certain that it could be cultivated year round as the 'cold period' hasn't had a negative influence on the crop, max 5-6 days" So, in the years that followed, they continued adjusting the hydrangeas to the Kenyan conditions, expanding the cultivation acreage and so on. And at the same time, the market started to know about this product, and demand started to increase. "We did not expect to get so many requests that fast and now, we ship our products, almost all directly, all over the world."
So why the expansion of the assortment? According to Ederveen, the pandemic has been a challenging period, and during that period, they thought of the potential of offering a complete package to their clients. On top of that, they developed their hydrangea production in a way that they can grow the same amount of stems on less acreage. "In turn, we had more space left to explore with other crops." So, they did. They started with gerberas and chrysanthemums in the autumn of 2020. And for the chrysanthemum, it has not been an easy task as they also had to set up the cutting production on farm. They had to learn a lot in a short period, but they managed to do it, and in spring 2021, they were producing around 200 to 300.000 stems a week, and now, they are at 400.00 stems a week.
Also, for their Lisianthus, they want to grow to this amount of stems per week. They started growing this crop 1.5 years ago, in 2021, and are now seeing good results. "In 1994, it was a challenging crop to grow as the cultivation period was too long. Now, due to better genetics, the cultivation period is more 'acceptable.'" Ederveen is happy with the production, quality, and demand. "It already exceeds our supply."
More developments in the pipeline
And at Flora Delight, there are more innovations and developments in the pipeline. They, for example, just started placing solar panels on their farm, and they are continuously improving their current crops and trialing new crops, like celosia.