25th October 22

Roses – bringing perfect roses across the seas

Agri Frontier is an agri-investment and business advisory firm, specialising in promoting world-class farming in frontier markets, particularly in Africa. Here we are looking at ways in which our services can help support advances in the transportation of cut flowers in Kenya, given that a larger proportion of roses are being sent by sea.

Kenya is currently one of the primary exporters of roses to the USA, UK and Europe, and the industry is steadily gaining ground after the devastation caused by the Coronavirus. The pandemic saw massive disruption to Kenyan air freight services, and there remains a shortage of capacity along with soaring costs.

Flower production is on the increase again, while the Netherlands has in recent years moved its focus from production to flower trading, allowing for greater expansion in the market. This opens the way for higher levels of employment throughout the industry, from the development of new farms to freight forwarding services.

In any business it is essential to have the right people at the helm, and Agri Frontier are specialists in headhunting for senior management roles across Africa, aiming to provide specialist and bespoke services to all our clients. With our in-depth knowledge of agriculture in Africa, we pride ourselves on our understanding of the industry needs, and our ability to source the exact type of candidate for your requirements. With our Board Services and Talent Strategy we can help you to build an effective senior team, ready to plan for next steps in recruitment.

With more cut flowers in the market, greater demand post Covid and a shortage of air freight capacity, there have been rapid advances in the sea-freight transportation of roses. The long-term projection is that around 20% of blooms bound from Kenya to Europe and the UK will eventually travel by sea.
Previously the routes were underdeveloped due to reluctance on the part of flower producers dealing with such a time-crucial cargo. Any delays such as bad weather, port strikes or negligence could lead to the entire crop being wasted. Soaring prices in air freight, however, have led producers to reconsider their options.

The increase in flower production and sea freight transportation has led to a higher demand for investing in cold chain logistics, on the part of both flower companies and the freight forwarding industry.

Cold chain logistics involves refrigerated facilities along every section of the supply chain, including farm facilities, trucks, ships and warehouses. This also involves Controlled Atmosphere Container technology, where levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide are regulated in order to keep the flowers dormant. Not only must roses remain fresh, but supermarkets also need to offer vase life of 7 days. Added to this, a sea journey from Mombasa to the UK takes 23-25 days, depending on the weather, so the blooms need to be prepared at source for a much longer journey time. Seamless cold chain facilities throughout production and transport are crucial within the East Africa flower industry in order to boost the exports of cut flowers.

Logistics companies are able to focus on temperature recording en route, as well as traceability of shipments and keeping manual handling of the cargo to a minimum. This helps to keep the flowers fresh for a longer period of time, allowing them to travel further and potentially expanding the market.

At Agri Frontier we are well placed to offer support required in all aspects of chain management, from executive recruitment to business plans, operational support and financial planning advice.

We understand specific and complex needs of agriculture within Africa, and offer on-site specialised technical agricultural consulting in horticulture, crop production and agricultural economics. We have a strategic partnership with Crop Nutrition Laboratory Services (Crop Nuts), East Africa’s leading firm of agronomic advisors. They are supported by their own independent soil analysis laboratory, the most sophisticated in East Africa.

We support agricultural and food businesses by delivering clear and concise investment rationale supported by robust analysis. We believe in focusing on what really matters; delivering advice that is commercially relevant in supporting funding applications and sound decision making, often involving long-term consequences.

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