Flower farmers smiling as Valentine's Day approaches

Trade is booming for Kenyan flower farmers as Valentine’s Day gets nearer, with their business being boosted by high export volumes.

Data from IAG Cargo shows that flower exports to the United States have increased by more than 50 per cent on last year’s volume. The popular destinations are Vancouver and New York. 

The rose has been the most popular flower shipped on IAG Cargo flights, with 95% of the roses transported being red in colour.

Kenya is one of the main exporters of rose flowers to the European Union (EU), with a market share of about 38 per cent.

Well preferred

The Kenya Flower Council estimating that for every 10 stems of roses sold in Europe, three are from Kenya. Kenya's flowers are also popular in Russia and the United States because of their longevity.

One of the reasons that the export volumes are going up is the fact that e-commerce capacity has grown in Kenya, allowing buyers to directly source flowers from farmers.

This direct contact has made it easier for buyers to only order what they need for the busy Valentine’s season.

Kenya Flower Council (KFC) chief executive Jane Ngige says she is confident that the industry will make 30 percent of sales projections yearon Valentine’s Day alone, although she admits that most of the sales will come from exports.

“We also expect higher volumes locally, despite the Valentine’s Day landing on a weekend,” Ngige said.