Valentine's Day The flower business in Nairobi will not have a Happy Valentine's Day celebration according to these experts

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Florists are worried bout losses due to pertaining political tension

A florist makes flower arrangements ahead of Valentine's Day at City Market play A florist makes flower arrangements ahead of Valentine's Day at City Market (Business Insider)

“I don’t think they’ll be any good,” said nearly every florist when Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa visited the florists at Nairobi’s City Market to ascertain any projections of flower sales on Valentine’s Day 2018.

The City Market is a fair place to gauge considering its position as the hotbed of a booming flower business in Kenya.

The forecast didn’t seem to be promising for the vendors despite the Kenya Flower Council predicting a boost in sales in 2018. According to The Star newspaper, the KFC said that sales had already hit the 75% mark of the average annual sector turnover of Sh100 billion.

Flower export value has grown tremendously in Kenya from Sh35.50 billion in 2010 to Sh70.80 billion in 2016.

Unfortunately, on-the-ground vendors disagreed with this.

play Flowers litter City Market back entrance ahead of Valentine's Day (Business Insider)

 

Nelson, a contractor with Pien Florists, argued that the current economic and political climate didn’t herald a promising start to the Valentine’s season. Surrounded by trimmed stems in the stall, he showed Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa samples of the packages they were planning to ship- like baskets with a teddy bear, a rose flower arrangement, a bottle of faux wine and a chocolate bar.

“But this season Kenyans have decided not to love each other,” he said, referring to the political tension that has plagued the country since the contested August 2017 general elections. The effects of the political turmoil can still be felt nearly half a year later.

The most palpable result being the higher cost of living. Fortunately the red rose flowers seem fairly affordable. With a single packaged rose retailing for Sh50- Sh70. Bouquets ranged from Sh500 to Sh2000 depending on the kind of arrangement.

It would seem that the projected earnings boost would be more suitable to growers rather than vendors. A sentiment that would be echoed by Gardens and Weddings attendant, Gertrude.

play Gertrude arranges flowers at the Gardens and Weddings stall (Business Insider)

 

“This year not many people are ordering flowers,” she said as she set up a bouquet.

Surrounded by all kinds of flowers from lilies to carnations and the ubiquitous red rose, Gertrude wasn’t optimistic about the 2018 Valentine’s season. The strong fragrance of lilies was a welcome distraction from such a dismal outlook. Perhaps the only vendor carrying a variety of flowers, a mix bouquet and a bouquet of lilies were priced at Sh1500.

play Flower arrangement at Gardens and Weddings (Business Insider)

 

Perhaps the hope for the flowers lies in exports but such earnings will only be witnessed by farmers. Large horticultural farms expect an increase in profits following the stability of the Euro compared to sales in February 2017. The main currency used in the export of flowers, the Euro, has appreciated from Sh110 in 2017 to Sh123.

Volumes of flower harvests from the major farms in Naivasha, Limuru, and Karen showed higher yields compared to last year as yield back then was affected by severe drought. Majority of Nairobi vendors also receive flowers from these lotions. Farmers deliver them every morning. However, some vendors admitted to buying lower numbers compared to last year.

“We can’t be sure about sales this year. Orders are fewer compared to last year but I am optimistic Valentine fever will help,” explained one florist who wished to remain anonymous.

play Flowers along City Market steps (Business Insider)

 

Another vendor, Duncan of Royal Florists, differed with other merchants.

“I think sales will be good this year,” he said. Orders had been pouring in as usual. Rose flowers littered the entrance to the gift shop that was stacked to the rafters with flower foam and Valentine’s Day packages.

With floral arrangements adorning the front and back entrances of the market, dealers in the rose flower business are still optimistic of sales. The foot traffic around the stalls is expected to pick up on the 14. Even with all the lowly outlook, there may still be a shot for sales boosts on the day of love.

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