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Blossoming Kenyan flower sector produces one of the best cut flower grower globally

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Oserian Development Company Limited staff during the International Grower of the Year Awards ceremony in Germany. Photo courtesy.

The all-time growing flower sector in Kenya according to Africa’s Competitiveness in the Global Economy Report 2018 has produced one of the best cut flower grower in the world.

Oserian Development Company Limited, one of Kenya’s largest grower and exporter of cut flowers on Tuesday this week emerged the best producer of the flowers globally at this year’s International Grower of the Year Awards held in Germany.

This comes at a time the domestic horticulture sector registered good performance in 2018 something Kenya Horticulture Council among other stakeholders have attributed to high standards of Kenya flowers, which has seen the demand go up in the world market.

According to Kenya Flower Council (KFC), despite challenges arising from fertiliser, the sector recorded good performance in 2018 where flowers had the lion’s share of the horticulture earnings, bringing in Sh93bn of the total industry revenue in 2018, followed by vegetables at Sh22bn then fruits at Sh11bn.

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Oserian was the only African grower nominated for recognition at this year’s awards ceremony.

Dubbed the Oscars for plants, the International Grower of the Year Awards, AIPH, an annual fete organized by the International Association of Horticultural Producers, and now in its tenth year, seeks to celebrate excellence and best practices in flower production.

Lifting the highest accolade in the cut flower category is an endorsement of Oserian’s huge investment in varieties that have increasingly received the thumbs up from customers around the world in what is an increasingly dynamic market with an insatiable appetite for new niche varieties.

To meet this demand, Oserian has developed a diverse portfolio across the 200 hectares it dedicates to cut flower production.  With over 100 hectares, rose production is still dominant but the numerous supporting crops such as Statice, Spray Carnations, Gypsophila, Sunflowers, Eucalyptus, and a wide range of green fillers enable Oserian to create a vast assortment of bouquets.

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Key to their strategy is identifying roses that benefit from their vast 50 hectares of geothermally heated greenhouses.  Inside these impressive structures is home to their various Collections – their wide range of Garden type roses, their Lady Collection, the Park Collection and one of type roses such as the striking Cappuccino.

To maintain the highest standards in production, the Company has adopted a ‘champions by nature’ approach to flower growing. The Company utilizes the integrated pest management (IPM) system, hydroponics to reduce water and fertilizer consumption and has the world’s largest geothermal heating project for maintaining temperature in its greenhouses and for injecting vast amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) needed to stimulate healthy, strong plant growth.

“We are proud that our investment in innovation and responsible flower growing mechanisms continue to be recognized on the global stage. In an increasingly competitive and dynamic market our cut flowers have excited markets and positioned us as frontrunners in sustainable flower production” said Mary Kinyua the Director of HR & Administration at Oserian.

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This year’s competition which drew participants from across the world saw Oserian take pride of place alongside producers in other categories from China, Belgium and Poland.

“The 2019 IGOTY Awards provide an opportunity to put a spotlight on the best in our industry, showing the world the quality businesses that exist,” Bernard Oosterom, President of AIPH said.

Ms. Kinyua says the win gives the Company fresh impetus to respond to diverse market needs while growing its portfolio. “As demand for cut flowers burgeons and customer preferences change, we continue to position our business to respond to these dynamics while remaining true to our philosophy of having sustainable flowers that are ethically grown.”

Last year Oserian won three awards in the Federation of Kenya Employers Awards for innovation and productivity, responsible business conduct and inclusivity and diversity in what points to the Company’s commitment to people and planet through sustainable flower growing practices, investment in staff welfare and ethical production of world class flowers.

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