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International flower trade expo set to open in Nairobi

More than 5,000 delegates are expected to attend a three-day International Flower Trade and Exhibition in Nairobi this week.

The expo opens tomorrow at Oshwal Centre, Westlands. Flowers from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Rwanda will be on display to international buyers from 60 countries, including US and China, who are attending the showcase of the region’s best flowers.

“Uganda and Ethiopia are this year present through country pavilions, with flower growers collectively presenting themselves and their fresh products in this joint presentation,” said Kenya Flower Council (KFC) CEO, Jane Ngige.

Last year, over 200 companies were exhibiting their products and more than 5,000 national and international trade visitors attended the event. This year, the expo is expected to host 225 companies exhibiting their products in the most important floral trade show in Africa and one of the top five cut flower trade fairs in the world.

It comes at a time when Kenya’s flower industry is poised for better times with the introduction of direct flights to USA and growing interest from America and Asia, the country’s newest and promising market frontiers.

These new export destinations are set to provide the industry with the much needed alternatives in the wake of dwindling numbers from traditional markets such as Europe.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) was recently classified to Category A status by the US government, enabling direct flights to the US from Nairobi. Kenya’s flowers are a sensation in the US but until the categorisation, it has been costly and lengthy to ship the country’s flowers to the world’s biggest market after the Europe.

“Owing to the availability of the flights, we expect more American buyers in Nairobi next week going by confirmed visits and increasing inquiries,” says Ngige.

The show is organised by the KFC, the Ministry of Agriculture through the Horticulture Crops Directorate, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (Kephis) and the International Floriculture Trade Expo (Iftex).

It is the sixth edition of the annual expo. The beauty of Kenyan flowers was visible at the recent China Flower Trade Fair in Guangzhou and the World Floral Expo in Las Vegas (US) held earlier this year on different dates, with high levels of attraction to the country’s flowers.

In China, visitors came from all the corners of the vast continent some purposely looking for the Kenya pavilion where a remarkable display resulted in buyers expressing interest to attend the Kenya flower show (IFTEX) to see more varieties and colour. “For this reason we expect more buyers from Asia, the country’s newest and promising market frontier for flowers,” says Ngige.

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