The first Flower Logistic Africa 2016 took place on November 8-9, 2016 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. The event organized by Logistics Update Africa in collaboration with the Kenya Flower Council as the official partner brought together key stakeholders of Africa’s flower power to discuss and learn the best practices of sustainable cut flower supply chain.
The conference themed from farm to vase: Building sustainable cut flower supply chain is one of the first conferences in Africa that put the focus on the evolving floral value chain.
The forum through panel discussions identified the logistical challenges faced not only by the growers; but by the all the value chain players at large, for example policies and regulation, insurance, investment, the safety and the quality of the cargo and cost of doing business. The exiting program addressed competitiveness about the current market and the opportunities for the future of the flower industry.
Addressing the forum during the opening session, Kenya Flower Council Chief Executive Mrs. Jane Ngige said there is need to rebrand the African product to enhance competitiveness for market access. She added that the market requirements are dynamic hence the sector need to be vibrant and ready to adopt the changes that come with the growth.
Mrs. Ngige said that luck of a direct freight to the US is a big challenge limiting growers to sell their product that potential market. In regard to infrastructure she said that today there is a lot of improvement especially on roads leading to exporters using less time to transport their produce.
She thanked the organizers for initiating such a fruitful logistic discussions and is hopeful that the annual event will address all the issues facing the sector.
Mr. Josiah Rotich from the Ministry of Industry, commerce and trade gave an update on the EAC EU EPA and also highlighted the policy framework in place and how it can support innovative solutions. He touched on the Trade policy which will be addressing the challenges within a value chain per sector. The policy is proposes to introduce two licences one at the County level and one at the national level to avoid the problem double taxation and also save a lot of time for the exporters. He acknowledged that horticulture sector has in the years been ahead of the government in addressing their problems.
Issues of packaging were also not forgotten where it was noted there different sizes of boxes and maybe one of the cause for damages of flowers especially on pallets. This could be reviewed to reduce the damages. The quality of the packaging materials should also be looked at by the manufacturers. Exporters were also encouraged to vaccum cool their product to maintain the quality of the produce.
others who participated in the panel discussions included Chris McLean – Palpina Airflo, John Kihia – Floralife Africa, Bimal Kantaria – Elgon Kenya, Matthea van der Mollen – Royal FloraHolland, Sanjeeve Gadhia – Astrol Aviation, Jack Mwaura – Signon, Ivan Mbowa- Umati Capital, Khlan Patel – Ever Flora, Jereon van der Hulst – Flowerwatch, Parit Shah – Silpack amongst others.
The conference was sponsored by Astral Aviation, Saudia Cargo and AIrFrance KLM Martinaire Cargo. The dates for the 2nd Flower Logistic Africa will be communicated later.