Nikiwe couldn't visit Kenya for the Africa Connected campaign with Standard Bank, investigating sectors of opportunity, without picking up on the story of Kenya's success with flowers!
The East African country continues to defend its position as the third largest exporter of cut flowers in the world - accounting for around 35% of all sales in the European Union.
Roughly half of the country's 127 flower farms are concentrated around Lake Naivasha, around 90kms northwest of Nairobi. The area has established itself because it has a freshwater lake and is not very far from Nairobi, which makes export easy. So with the area's warm climate and good supply of water, high-quality blossoms can be grown year-round without the need for expensive-to-run greenhouses.
According to CEO of Kenya Flower Council Jane Ngige, who met Nikiwe at the Nairobi City Flower Market, part of the recipe for their success has been their close working relatinship with the flower vendors...
"They are the public image of the flower industry - they are the ones who flower offices, hospitals funeral homes."— Jane Ngige, CEO of Kenya Flower Council
Nikiwe gets a guided tour of the Nairobi City Flower Market
But moves are afoot to improve what is already great. The Flower Council has established a committee to bring younger vendors - fresh thinking - into the industry. This business is significant beyond foreign exchange earnings in that it employs 100 000 people directly, and about 500 000 indirectly.
"You are looking at 125 000 tons per year as of 2015 - worth about 600 000 Euros."— Jane Ngige, CEO of Kenya Flower Council
Click here to access the Africa Connected portal or click below to watch Nikiwe's chat with Jane Ngige below...