Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Growing opportunities in cut flowers

Time is everything in cut flowers. Therefore, predictably, what the US does not grow itself, it imports from from its back yard, with just 2 countries, Colombia and Ecuador, accounting for about 80% of its imports. As Andean Pact countries, they enjoy duty-free access.

However, in third place lies the Netherlands, whose exports doubtless include a large share of Kenyan flowers (industry experts estimate between 30-40%). Kenya’s growth opportunities lie in increasing this share of product going to the US as well as direct supply. However, Kenya should be wary that it does not cannibalize its ‘via-the-Netherlands’ market as it grows its direct market, leaving it with more value chain hassles but no more of the market than it began with.