Cut roses make up about 80 percent of Kenya’s total cut flower production. In order to diversify risks more and attract more entrepreneurs to Kenya, we started to look for alternatives,” says student Quinten Buys. Together with fourth-year students Bas van Dijk, Justin Middelburg, Sven Bickencamo and Bas van den Bosch, in his research he mainly considers cut types of flowers, which, as a rule, are in sufficient demand.
In addition, the students researched which species are ecologically suitable for the Kenyan climate. “It has to be financially viable. You have to make money from it,” says Middelburg. “That’s why we also explored whether alternative crops are logistically interesting for marketing in Europe or the Middle East.”
Transportation is not a problem
Transportation of grown products is still a problem at the moment, continues Middelburg. ‘Today, most cut flowers are shipped by air from Kenya. However, problems in this area are growing rapidly. Think about the lack of air cargo and the negative impact of air cargo on the environment.’
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Therefore, the students write in their study that there is great potential for the Kenyan floriculture sector if it is possible to supply more products. They write that there are major differences between the Dutch and Kenyan horticultural sectors.
“In Kenya, for example, there are still wooden greenhouses, and most of them are made of plastic. Here in the Netherlands, we swear by glass, and it should be as transparent and light as possible,” Van Dijk says. ‘In Kenya, low-budget growing is essential. Everything is still done by hand there. The Dutch grower is much more automated.’
More than just growing roses
According to the students, there are also many opportunities. All results of the study will be announced on Thursday, December 15 at the Dutch University of Applied Sciences in Delft. “What we can already say is that there are so many more possibilities than just pink products,” Van Dijk says.