Where do florists get their roses come from? If you live in Europe, there is a good chance they came from Kenya. It is one of the world’s largest exporter of fresh cut roses. Kenyans export other varieties of flowers, but roses remain the top export, accounting for nearly 80% of all flower exports. Even during Europe’s economic recession these past few years, Kenya’s flower industry continues to grow.
Despite a drastic decrease in European exports, Kenyan flower farms are still in business because they are choosing to implement eco-friendly solutions that will cut costs. Growing flowers requires a lot of water and other resources that take a toll on the environment. As a solution, they are harvesting rainwater, building bio-gas plants to process waste materials and using natural solutions over using costly pesticides.
For example, some flower farms are using hydroponic techniques to dramatically reduce water usage and recycling the water to use on other crops. Other farms are using geothermal energy or hydro-electricity to heat the greenhouses where the roses are grown. These changes will help the environment and the flower industry to thrive in an economic downturn.
The flower industry in Kenya is the 3rd largest contributor to the economy in the country, after tourism and tea, exporting 500 million US dollars’ worth of goods. Kenya is home to some of the world’s largest flowers farms, with some farms employer over 10 000 workers to tend to the roses.
As new markets open up in Asia, Kenyans can look forward to a bright, green future.
To see a video of a Kenyan rose farm, click here.