Collaborating with breeders is essential to our success

Colin Fernandes was crowned AIPH Young International Grower of the Year 2024 at IPM Essen, Germany, in January. This category celebrates vibrant individuals aged 25-40 who will lead the industry into the future. The nominations were assessed and selected from the participants attending Jungle Talks’ Pro Manager Mastercourse. Fernandes is the Trial Site Coordinator for Marginpar in Kenya. He manages a team of 25 people across sites in Kenya and Ethiopia. His role focuses on introducing new and improved product varieties into the commercial market. His biggest achievement in horticulture so far has been the introduction of a crop called Sanguisorba – Red Dream, to the commercial market for Marginpar. His column for the FCI April 2024 issue follows.

Colin Fernandes, AIPH Young International Grower of the Year 2024.

The foundation of our success lies in collaborating with a network of exclusive breeders. Through transparent communication and knowledge sharing, we strive to achieve optimal results in the challenging task of growing niche varieties that set us apart in the market.

Marginpar thrives on trialling unconventional varieties, recognising the value of embracing challenges in cultivation. Our commitment to providing customers with extraordinary flowers is evident in the fact that some of our crops take up to 15 years to develop.

The decision to conclude a trial is a delicate balance, considering factors such as sustainability, length, productivity, vase life, and resistance to diseases and pests.

Focusing solely on unique summer flower varieties allows us to narrow down our selection, seeking exclusivity in the products we bring to market.

The trials extend beyond experimentation, carefully selecting varieties tested in an African climate.

Collaborating with our breeders, we emphasise the importance of choosing disease- and pest-resistant varieties and those that are more sustainable to grow.

Climate variability, particularly in the face of climate change, has required a strategic approach to our production.

With longer dry spells and intensified wet periods in recent years, we have adapted to become more efficient in water usage and storage, ensuring the resilience of our crops.

Every step in the flower-growing process is scrutinised, from selecting strong plant material and refining propagation techniques to ensuring optimal growth speed and overall plant quality.

Each unique variety demands its own specialised treatment, reflecting our dedication to our vision of creating the world’s most unique summer flowers.

Our main target market is international florist shops. Stem length is one of the many crucial considerations, offering florists greater freedom in crafting their own flower arrangements.

At the core of our success are the relationships with our breeders. Marginpar, not being a breeder itself, places importance on collaborating with dedicated partners. Continuously working with breeders is essential to developing new, more productive, resistant, and sustainable flowers to stay ahead of the competition.

In the world of Marginpar, where “We grow people, our people grow unique summer flowers,” we acknowledge that our people are the driving force behind our success and emphasise the cultivation of not only flowers but also a dedicated community.

For more information about entering the AIPH International Grower of the Year 2025, visit Download the brochure here to learn more about the Jungle Talks Pro Manager Mastercourse and the steps towards becoming an AIPH Young International Grower of the Year 2025.

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