Kenyan rose trade needs lovers' support

14 February 2008
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14 February 2008 | Paul Snell

The government is urging lovers to buy Kenyan roses today to help support growers in the country.

The Department for International Development said roses count for more than 70 per cent of Kenya's flower exports and sales for Valentine's Day and Mother's Day account for more than the rest of the year's sales combined.

The Kenyan cut-flower industry is worth around £127 million and two million people depend on the industry for their livelihood.

Douglas Alexander, international development secretary, said in a statement: "Buying flowers from developing countries makes it easier for people there to make a decent living. It's also important to remember that flowers flown in from Kenya aren't grown in heated greenhouses so they use less energy than most of those produced in Europe."

A 2006 study from Cranfield University revealed that carbon emissions from Kenyan roses are six times lower than those grown in the Netherlands.

And according to the Ethical Trading Initiative, those who forget today's date cannot blame the recent political turmoil in the country, as supplies are unlikely to be affected.

However, the group added that the flower industry in the country still suffers from many supply chain problems, such as widespread discrimination against women, poor wages, low levels of health and safety and low union representation.


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