Kenya’s floral exports, jobs surge past pre-Covid highs

Employment in Kenya’s flower farms has recovered, posting better job numbers compared to pre-Covid-19 season.

According to the latest Flower Firms survey from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), employment in the sector averaged 120 per cent in March up from 113 per cent and 97 per cent in January and November, respectively, relative to February 2020 levels.

The country’s flower sector employs over 500,000 people, including over 100,000 who are actively engaged directly in the flower farms as employees, and impacts over two million livelihoods indirectly.

Read also: Rising cost of food, fuel drive inflation in Kenya into new high

“Respondents indicated that their operations have been supported by the reopening of key export markets and improved cargo space particularly from August 2020. The farms are currently on high season and they continue to supply the international markets,” CBK report noted.

The production and export levels of flowers from Kenya have improved, hitting an average of 93 per cent and 97 per cent, respectively, of pre-Covid-19 levels (February 2020).

Export orders for flowers remain strong despite the uncertainty surrounding the third wave of Covid-19 infections and discovery of variants of the virus.

Average orders are about 97 per cent of the normal (pre-COVID-19) levels in the next four months to July.

Some farms were, however, concerned about the possible cancellation of orders in case of stringent lockdowns due to the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As the economies reopened, farms started recalling their workers in line with demand for the flowers internationally. Between January and March 2021, farms increased their workforce in line with the rising demand. They also increased the acreage under flowers. In addition, farms have increased their workforce to support replanting of flowers that were due for replacement,” said CBK

The European Union and Britain are the leading destinations of Kenyan flowers while Russia, Japan, China and Australia provide a significant market share.

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