Lobby launches campaign to boost domestic flower sales
Kenya's private-sector lobby on Monday launched a campaign to boost domestic sales of flowers amid plunging sales on the international markets due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Carol Karuga, CEO of Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), told journalists in Nairobi that sales of cut flowers in overseas markets are below 35 percent of expected volumes at this time of the year, as sales at florists in the European Union and British markets fell to almost zero.
"The campaign is informed by the realities brought forth by how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting world economies," Karuga said.
"Businesses in Kenya, particularly the cut-flower industry, is confronting the harsh reality of the virus, which puts in peril one of Kenya's most successful and internationally acclaimed sectors."
The campaign, dubbed Flowers of Hope, will be implemented by the Kenya Flower Council (KFC) and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers.
KFC CEO Clement Tulezi said flower plants need to be kept alive and healthy, otherwise they will die and the industry will lose its ability to supply flowers when the export markets open up.
Local sales of flowers constitute a minor fraction of overall sector sales, while the European Union and Britain jointly absorb approximately 70 percent of all export of cut flowers, he said.
"We are committed to remaining a key player in creation of job opportunities for local people," Tulezi said.
"Currently, we employ over 150,000 Kenyans directly and a further 500,000 from those who supply goods and services."
The campaign kicked off in Nairobi with the distribution of flowers in Kenyatta National Hospital and others and will then continue in other parts of the country in the coming days. (Xinhua)