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John Pouw on the latest IFTEX edition

“I am glad that I returned to IFTEX”

"Half a year ago I decided it was time to return to IFTEX, after over 30 years," says John Pouw of Viking Roses. Viking Roses is a rose breeding company that has a nearly 20-year collaboration with the Danish breeders of Roses Forever. In the early nineties, John, then on behalf of De Ruiter's, attended the first Nairobi exhibition. More recently, he and his colleague Angeline Abuti obtained an IFTEX stand for Viking Roses to showcase their Danish-bred varieties. In this article, he will share how he experienced the latest IFTEX edition.

From left to right: John, Andrew Wambua (MZurri Flowers), Angeline, and Harley Eskelund (Roses Forever).

Continuity and special experiences
"Dick van Raamsdonk is a true show master," says John about the IFTEX organizer. "I have visited many of his shows, and I think they became increasingly professional over the years. I am glad that I returned to IFTEX. It was great to see that it is still an event where you can easily connect with others to establish partnerships and learn more about the latest trends. In that respect, it has not changed much over the past three decades," John states.

Although John has quite some experience with attending trade shows, he says that he had some unique experiences at the IFTEX. "Initially I was not really happy with the position of our stand which was more at the back of the venue. Yet, looking back I think it made that we weren't outshone by the stands of other companies. Actually, our stand was rather modest: no arrangements, no show, but pots and vases inviting the visitors to take out the flowers for a closer look. Our flowers received a lot of attention. Some company owners even visited us twice to have a better look at some of the cut-roses. This has never happened to me, and this is not the first time that I attend a trade show," John states.

The Viking Roses stand at the IFTEX in Nairobi, Kenya

Introducing new varieties
At the IFTEX, the Viking Roses team got the chance to introduce new varieties. For nearly twenty years, Viking Roses and Roses Forever collaborate to breed and trial cut-roses. This year they introduced six new varieties including 'Rosa Loves Me® Under the Stars, RLM® Paula's Champagne Delight, Rosa's Amazing® Celebrating Heather varieties.

Left to right: Rosa Loves Me Under the Stars, and RLM Paula's Champagne Delight

Rosa's Amazing Celebrating Heather

John comments: "I have never experienced something like this. You are very lucky if you introduce one or two varieties a year, and we managed to introduce six varieties! During the trade fair, one pink spray rose variety got special attention thanks to its opening. Even in the evening, when the IFTEX was over, farms continued to place orders. At one point we even received an enthusiastic manager in our hotel who wanted to make sure that his farm would be the first to market this variety."

Worth a late-night hotel visit, name to be announced

Biological open-field cultivation and scented roses
Further, John was positively surprised by the attention for biological open field cultivation, and scented roses at the IFTEX. "I didn't expect that there would be already so much attention for biological open field cultivation. I am very happy to see that the flower sector is seriously concerned about environmental and biological cultivation. Our team has been involved in bio trials in the open field for several years. Thanks to IFTEX I could connect to interested parties that will come and see the trials. Similarly, we received quite some visitors that were interested in scented roses. It seems like this is becoming more important, and that growers see potential in scented roses that do not damage and have a good vase life. We have been involved in the breeding of scented roses for quite a while, but in previous years these roses have only received little attention."

"These are some things that I encountered and learned at IFTEX. I think this and the other experiences make it such a valuable trade fair," John concludes.The end of the IFTEX doesn't mean that John and Angeline have rest now. Right after the show Angeline left for their trials in Nakuru to arrange all the budwood orders. And John is concerned with his bio trials in the Netherlands, and the new Viking trial area in Colombia.

For more information:
Viking Roses
John Pouw
Email: [email protected]

Angeline Abuti
Email: [email protected]
T: +254 (0)789860165