Auctioneer visits Kenya

Auctioneer Edwin Chrispijn was on a grower visit to Kenya last week. A special and educational experience, he says in the blog below, because he was able to see with his own eyes how growers do business in the country. This way, he gets to know their background better, which ultimately helps to realize the best price for them on the clock.

As an auctioneer, you are always looking for the best price for the grower within the market. To feed your market sense, it helps to know the background of the product and the grower well. That is why we regularly visit growers and buyers at home and abroad. I went to Kenya for a week in week 37. My focus was on the rose growers who are also active in Rijnsburg.

Kenya trip
After an eight-and-a-half-hour journey, I landed in Nairobi, which was also my base of operations in most cases. Up early every day to go to various nurseries, which are spread over a large area. This is how I visited Naivasha, Thika, Nanyuki and Kitale. The trips were long and intense (and bumpy), but even the longest trips are beautiful when you are open to the diversity of landscapes, environment, and animals roaming freely there.

The topic that came up the most was 'the current market for roses.' Whereas normally, pricing recovers in late August, you see little improvement in roses. Also, costs are rising, and the turnover (ratio of costs to yields) is therefore worrisome. Despite this situation, I was well-received everywhere. For growers, the auctioneer, me in this case, is the most important contact. Growers see us as a tool that helps them get the maximum price.

Special experience
What a special experience to see how growers operate in Kenya. The growers work hard to adapt and improve their range and invest in water installations, biology, solar panels, and employees. The presence of nurseries provides jobs for many Kenyans, which is positive as unemployment is high in Kenya.

Besides the fact that I learned a lot about growing and business in Kenya, it is enormously instructive to be alongside local colleagues from Kenya. They know the culture and are important in connecting with the Kenyan growers. A big compliment for how they deliver their work there.

Current market
Then, a look at the current market. In cut flowers, yellow, pink, and white colors are less popular. We see a movement towards orange, red, and other dark shades. Roses, in particular are having a tough time. In contrast, Hydrangea, Solidago, Panicum, and Hypericum are doing well in the market. In the Netherlands, we have had beautiful sunny weather this month, but by now, autumn is in full swing. During this period, the nights are getting colder again, which is good for crops.

For plants, autumn has also really set in. Autumn products such as Skimmia, Gaulteria, Calluna, and winter violets are doing well. In indoor plants, we see significantly less Phalaenopsis, which has a positive effect on pricing. In Zantedeschia, we see substantially more supply, which fits the autumn palette perfectly, given the colors.

And finally, buyers beware! Many new varieties of roses are on their way, and investments in young plants have been made; it will be a real treat! Keep an eye on Clocknews for this; if you have not yet received this newsletter, please register at

Are you a buyer or supplier, and would you like to know more about sales or buying via the clock? Contact the Customer Contact Centre of Royal FloraHolland (tel +31 (0) 88 789 89 89) and ask for an auctioneer or account manager. We will be happy to personally show you around the growing world of flowers and plants.

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