International Floriculture Trade Expo (IFTEX) Kicks Off in Nairobi with 20% Increase in exhibitors

The 11th International Floriculture Trade Expo (IFTEX) commenced yesterday in Nairobi, showcasing a 20% increase in exhibitors presenting their finest blooms. The event, held at Visa Oshwal Center along Ring Road Parklands, spans 7,000 square meters and has attracted around 200 exhibitors from 75 countries.

According to Dr Idris Salim Dokota, the Principal Secretary of the State Department for Cabinet Affairs, this year’s expo is particularly special due to the increased number of sector players interested in displaying their products, innovations, and technologies aimed at growing the industry.

“We are thrilled to host representatives from 75 countries, each contributing to the vibrant tapestry of our global floriculture community,” said Dr. Salim during the opening ceremony of IFTEX.

The event’s theme, ‘Sustainability,’ aligns with the government’s commitment to nurturing Kenya’s floriculture sector.

“Kenya’s floriculture sector has long been a beacon of our nation’s entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, and resilience. This spirit has propelled our country to become a global leader in floriculture, contributing significantly to the economy, creating jobs, and enhancing the livelihoods of over 2 million Kenyans,” added Dr Salim, who represented Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua at the event.

Profitable Sector
Mr. Christopher Kulei, the Board Chairman of the Kenya Flower Council (KFC), highlighted the maturity of Kenya’s floriculture industry into a profitable, sustainable, and competitive sector that meets the highest international standards for environmental, social, and good agricultural practices.

“With around 5,000 hectares dedicated to flower cultivation, the industry exports over 200,000 tonnes of flowers annually, valued at $900 million, bringing in vital forex revenues to the economy,” said Mr. Kulei. He emphasized the sector’s role in employing over 1 million people indirectly and impacting the lives of over 4 million people. Floriculture accounts for more than 70% of total horticultural exports and employs over 200,000 workers, mostly in rural areas.

“With Kenya’s rich soils, advanced technology, and excellent human capital, we could double Kenya’s exports in the next 10 years, given cooperation between public and private sectors, good regulations, and incentives for growers and exporters,” added Mr. Kulei.

Visitor Turnout and Industry Growth
IFTEX organizer Dick Raamsdonk noted that this year’s expo could see over 3,000 visitors from various countries. “Kenya has grown to become a big player in the global floriculture industry, which is why many people, including growers, traders, and enthusiasts, love to attend IFTEX yearly,” said Raamsdonk.

Carbon Credit Trading
Among other initiatives to advance the sector, such as implementing policies for a conducive business environment, modernizing transportation networks, promoting eco-friendly practices, and improving trade partnerships, the government is also enacting the Carbon Credit Trading and Benefit Sharing Bill of 2023. This proposed legislation aims to create a robust regulatory framework for carbon credit trading and benefit-sharing.

The bill will establish an authority to oversee these activities, provide for the registration and regulation of carbon trading businesses, and set up a Carbon Credit Trading Tribunal to address disputes. “With this, our flower farms can generate additional revenue by engaging in carbon credit projects. By adopting sustainable practices and reducing their carbon footprint, they can earn carbon credits that can be traded internationally,” said Dr. Salim. This initiative will support environmental goals and provide a new income stream for farmers, enhancing their economic resilience.

By Zablon Oyugi

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