NAIVASHA, Kenya: Oserian Development Company Limited, one of Kenya’s largest grower and exporter of cut flowers, has started the year on a high note by winning a coveted prize at this year’s AIPH International Grower of the Year (IGOTY) awards held in Germany. Oserian was the only African grower nominated for recognition at the 2019 awards ceremony.
Dubbed the Oscars for plants, the AIPH International Grower of the Year awards, now in its tenth year, celebrates and promotes excellence and best practice in ornamentals production.
Winning gold in the cut flower category is an endorsement of Oserian’s huge investment in varieties that have increasingly received the thumbs up from customers around the world, in what is an increasingly dynamic market with an insatiable appetite for new and niche varieties.
To meet this demand, Oserian has developed a diverse portfolio across the 200 hectares it dedicates to cut flower production. With over 100 hectares, rose production is still dominant but the numerous supporting crops such as Statice, Spray Carnations, Gypsophila, Sunflowers, Eucalyptus and a wide range of green fillers enables Oserian to create a vast assortment of bouquets.
Key to their strategy is identifying roses that benefit from their vast 50 hectares of geothermally heated greenhouses. These impressive structures are home to various rose collections including a beautiful range of bourbon-shaped roses such as ‘Vuvuzela’ and ‘Piano’ and striking spray roses such as ‘Cappuccino’.
To maintain the highest standards in production, the company has adopted a ‘champions by nature’ approach to flower growing. The company utilises the integrated pest management (IPM) system, hydroponics to reduce water and fertiliser consumption and has the world’s largest geothermal heating project for maintaining temperature in its greenhouses and for injecting vast amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) needed to stimulate healthy, strong plant growth.
“We are proud that our investment in innovation and responsible flower growing mechanisms continue to be recognised on the global stage. In an increasingly competitive and dynamic market, our cut flowers have positioned us as frontrunners in sustainable flower production,” said Mary Kinyua the Director of HR & Administration at Oserian.
This year’s competition, which drew participants from across the world, saw Oserian take pride of place alongside producers in other categories from China, Belgium and Poland.
“The AIPH IGOTY Awards provide an opportunity to put a spotlight on the best in our industry, showing the world the quality businesses that exist,” said Bernard Oosterom, President of AIPH.
Ms. Kinyua says winning the award gives the company fresh impetus to respond to diverse market needs while growing its portfolio. “As demand for cut flowers burgeons and customer preferences change, we continue to position our business to respond to these dynamics while remaining true to our philosophy of having sustainable flowers that are ethically grown.”
Last year Oserian won three awards in the Federation of Kenya Employers Awards for; innovation and productivity, responsible business conduct and inclusivity and diversity, recognising the company’s commitment to people and planet through sustainable flower growing practices, investment in staff welfare and ethical production of world class flowers.
Oserian is the largest flower farm on the shores of Lake Naivasha, established in the late 1960s by the Zwager family. It produces high quality flowers for export, utilising modern technology to grow over 100 hectares of roses, 40 hectares of carnations and 25 hectares of green fillers. The company provides livelihoods to over 4600 workers who enjoy an industry-leading range of benefits and world-class working conditions. It has invested in environmentally friendly green technology for its production process – including natural methods of pest control. It has pioneered the use of geothermal energy in flower production, through climate control of its greenhouses.
Photo: Oserian Development Company Limited staff receiving Gold in the Cut Flowers & Bulbs category at the AIPH International Grower of the Year (IGOTY) Awards 2019 ceremony in Germany