Although some European growers still believe their African counterparts are not well-informed on sustainability, sustainable production is high on agendas in countries like Kenya.
Nearly every Kenyan farm has any certificate their customers might request, an expert told us. So their eyes are open, although it is hard to see if these certificates are only an obligation or the result of internal conviction. But the certificates depend on solid checks which are then often double-checked by European retailers.
The sustainability issue in Kenya may be primarily market-driven, but the issue gets extra attention in production and transport. The variety of labels worries many Kenyans, too, and there is always a risk that retailers will put further demands on sustainability issues which would lead to more complexity and pressure on resources. Another risk it that growers won’t be able to fulfill every demand consumers or retailers request.
A daily, solid, checkable registration
Recently Royal FloraHolland’s Managers Sustainability & CSR visited Kenya to discuss sustainability issues. “We had excellent discussions. We were able to advise growers in the world of changing market demand and changing availability of certification and registration programs in Kenya and worldwide. It is important that they start or continue a daily, solid, checkable registration on the use of agrochemicals in the production and use of water. I am happy with the role the Kenyan Flower Council (KFC) takes, but this element isn’t yet completely in the KFC certificates, as it is in MPS certificates, for example. It is good that KFC and Kenyan authorities have created export licenses, but should KFC control these certificates themselves?”
“I know that many Kenyan growers are well under way on sustainability issues, but I know others aren’t. By the year 2020, 90% of the traded flowers and plants worldwide should be produced by the Basket of Standards of the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI). In simple terms, this means they have to be produced under label (see also page 37 of this magazine). This could mean flowers and plants produced outside the Basket of Standards would no longer be welcome at major outlet channels. FSI created the Basket of Standards to protect ethical growers from growers who don’t care about the environmental, legal and social implications of sustainability. The European market asks for sustainably-produced flowers and plants and consumers ask for transparency. It is time to create and implement it.”