The European Union has introduced new stringent measures that require Kenyan flower farmers to reduce the amount of fertilizers, pesticides and water used in the line of production, hence dimming exports of the commodity to the bloc, industry officials said Monday.
Clement Tulezi, CEO of Kenya Flower Council (KFC), said the new regulations are a threat to production with stakeholders warning that this would have adverse effects on quality and quantity.
Tulezi added that the regulations will undermine action on pests and diseases besides reducing soil fertility since the use of fertilizer will be limited.
“We are concerned by the new regulations from the EU which direct farmers to reduce the amount of water, fertilizer and chemicals that they are using,” Tulezi said during a briefing in the resort town of Naivasha, located about 90 kilometers northwest of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
He regretted that implementing the new directives would lead to a drop in the quality of flowers and a spike in pests’ infestation.
He noted that small-scale flower growers were looking forward to tax rebates to boost their production capacity and ability to compete in the domestic and regional market.
Jack Kneppers, a leading flower grower in Naivasha, admitted that high fuel, electricity and freight charges could undermine sector’s growth, adding that the commodity was fetching dismal profits in the EU market despite high production cost.
“Many of the farmers are yet to fully recover from the pandemic and the situation has been worsened by the rising prices of fertilizer and other farm inputs,” said Kneppers.