They built their first greenhouse in 1995, started with 6 employees and alstroemeria only, and now, more than 365 people are working there, producing cuttings of various cut flowers, pot plants, and garden plants. The company in question is Murara Plants in Kenya, a summer flowers breeder and propagator and a subsidiary of HilverdaFlorist. Over the years, they have grown significantly, won several awards, and as they see Kenyan diversifying their product range, further growth is expected. This is explained by Eric Bouman.
Eric Bouman at the IFTEX 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya.
"Ideal location for propagation"
Located in Kericho in the highlands to the west of Kenya's Great Rift Valley at an altitude of approximately 2,100 meters above sea level, Murara Plants Kenya is situated against the edge of The Mau Forest and surrounded by Tea Plantations. In 1996, they started producing cuttings for HilverdaFlorist, Hilverda at that time, and added Gypsophila Carnation, Scabiosa, and Salvia in the years that followed.
"Kericho has a warm and temperate climate. The average annual rainfall is between 1800 and 2000 mm of rain, with a constant 12-hour average daylight. The temperatures range between 20 and 26 degrees Celsius during the day and 10 to 12 degrees Celsius during the night throughout the year, making it an ideal location for the propagation of high-quality cuttings which meet all international phytosanitary standards. And in terms of quality control, all plants are grown hydroponically.
Increasing demand for mixed bouquets
At the IFTEX exhibition that took place last June, the trend of diversification at the booths of the exhibiting growers was clearly visible. Also, Bouman notices this trend in the demand for their products. "We see that the rose market is under pressure and that European customers are increasingly looking for mixed bouquets. We, for example, see the demand picking up for Alstroemeria, Gypsophila, and Limoniums.
Opportunities for new varieties
And Bouman sees more opportunities for other varieties to piggyback on this trend. "We are pushing Scabiosa and Raffines. Why? The market is looking for fillers for bouquets, and growers are looking for diversification. And I think these products will fit both needs perfectly.
And at Murara Plants, they continue expanding their assortment. "Currently, we are conducting trials on Pot Gerberas for seed production, for example," says Bouman.
More than plant propagator
Murara Plants is producing cuttings, but producing high-quality products is not their sole aim. "We want to take care of our employees and the world." And lately, they have been awarded for their efforts. Earlier this year, for example, they won the annual DOSH Awards in the Agricultural sector in Kenya and an award as best practice in the Renewable Energy (small consumer) category during the 19th Energy Management Awards (EMA) in Nairobi, Kenya.