Kenyan roses for Valentine’s Day

Τα τριαντάφυλλα της Κένυας και ο Άγιος Βαλεντίνος

Αν ζείτε στην Ευρώπη και είχατε την τύχη να σας προσφέρουν τριαντάφυλλα την ημέρα του Αγίου Βαλεντίνου, μάλλον θα προέρχονταν από την Κένυα. Κι αυτό γιατί το περίπου 25% των λουλουδιών που πωλούνται στην Ευρώπη εισάγονται από τη συγκεκριμένη χώρα.



NAIVASHA: In a country strangled by anger and fear, it is taking armed escorts and emergency airlifts to transport Kenya’s most warmhearted export – the rose – abroad for Valentine’s Day.

Kenyan flowers – mostly roses – account for a quarter of Europe’s cut flower imports, and Kenyan growers have been pushing to keep exports up for the holiday despite ethnic violence that has paralysed the East African country.

Faced with staff shortages, growers are calling on the workers they do have to work longer days to meet Valentine’s Day orders in Europe.

Wildfire transitions to full hydroponic rose cultivation

Kenyan rose and hypericum farm Wildfire Flowers is planning to grow all their roses on hydroponic systems.

Lower production costs, large head size

Lower production costs and large head size are the main reasons for Wildfire’s decision to start growing their roses hydroponically. According to Mugi, it is a large investment, but will save costs in the longer run and contribute to a better crop. “The production costs will decrease as the water and fertilization supply can be controlled better. On top of that, we see a healthier crop with larger head sizes. The Calypso variety for example has a head size of 3.5 cm when it is grown in the soil and of 4-4.5cm when grown hydroponically.”

Roses grown hydroponically.

In three years all roses grown hydroponically

According to Wildfire Flowers’ plans, all roses will be grown hydroponically in three years. “We will wait till a crop is ready to be replaced by a new crop. Then, we will install a hydroponic cultivation system and plant the new crop afterwards. We think it will take us about 3 years to grow all our roses this way.”

A peek in the rose farm

At the beginning of June, during the IFTEX flower show week, we had the chance to visit some growers in the Naivasha region. Wildfire Flowers was one of the farms that we visited. They opened their doors and showed us the process from rose cultivation to packaging. Below some photos to give you an impression of this farm and its processes.

The greenhouses at Wildfire Flowers are located on an altitude of 1,800m above sea level.

Next to single head roses, Wildfire also grows spray roses. In this greenhouse, spray roses are being cultivated for one of their customers in France. The net at the roof enables the head to get its two colors; pink and white. Without the net, the flowers will remain white.

Grading and packaging area. Wildfire Flowers only sells their products directly.

As they supply the market directly, every customer requires their own sleeve. On this photo, the presentation of the sleeves per customer.

And some customers do not like thorns. In this photo, they are removing the thorns for a German customer.

The flowers are graded and packed and on their way back to the cold room.

Next to roses, Wildfire Flowers grows hypericums too. On 15 ha, they mainly grow red and green hypericums. In this area, these flowers are, together with the roses, graded and packed.

Μετά μια διστακτική αρχή τη δεκαετία του 1980, η βιομηχανία αυτή αποτελεί σήμερα την τρίτη σημαντικότερη πηγή εσόδων για τη χώρα, καθώς αποφέρει 120 εκατομμύρια δολάρια ετησίως. Οι δύο άλλες πηγές εσόδων, ο τουρισμός και το τσάι, έχουν καταστραφεί από την αιματοχυσία και την εθνοκάθαρση που πλήττουν τη χώρα μετά τις διαφιλονικούμενες εκλογές του Δεκεμβρίου.

A customer selects roses at a flower shop ahead of Valentine's Day in southwestern China's Chongqing municipality

Οι εξαγωγές που χάθηκαν κοστίζουν στη βιομηχανία τσαγιού δύο εκατ. δολάρια την ημέρα, ενώ η έκρηξη βίας στις μεγάλες φυτίες τσαγιού έχει οδηγήσει σε καταστροφή τον μηχανολογικό εξοπλισμό, τις καλλιέργειες και τις κατοικίες.

Η βία ξέσπασε τη χειρότερη στιγμή. Αν και καλλιεργούν γαρίφαλα σε όλες τις αποχρώσεις του κρεμ, τα πολλά χρήματα έρχονται από τα κόκκινα τριαντάφυλλα.

Η ένωση καλλιεργητών λουλουδιών της λίμνης Ναϊβάσα εκτιμά πως η ημέρα του Αγίου Βαλεντίνου αντιπροσωπεύει το 1/3 της ετήσιας παραγωγής τους. Ενα από τα μεγαλύτερα αγροκτήματα λουλουδιών, το Oserian, έθεσε στόχο να πουλήσει έξι εκατ. τριαντάφυλλα την εβδομάδα που πέρασε.

Απασχολεί 5.000 εργάτες που ζουν μέσα στο αγρόκτημα. Τα πράγματα είναι, όμως, διαφορετικά για τις μικρότερες καλλιέργειες, των οποίων οι εργαζόμενοι μένουν στις δικές τους άθλιες και συχνά ανασφαλείς κατοικίες.


Οι ιδιοκτήτες των αγροκτημάτων προσπαθούν να περιορίσουν τα προβλήματα, στεγάζοντας προσωρινά τους εργάτες σε ειδικά διαμορφωμένο χώρο στο αγρόκτημα. Εύκολα προσλαμβάνουν αντικαταστάτες καθώς ο μηνιαίος μισθός των 80 δολαρίων θεωρείται καλός.


Τα τριαντάφυλλα χρειάζονται ενταντική περιποίηση προτούν κοπούν και ταξιδέψουν αυθημερόν για να πουληθούν στο Αμστερνταμ και το Λονδίνο. Η Κένυα αναδύθηκε ως δύναμη στην καλλιέργεια λουλουδιών όταν άρχισε να εγκαταλείπει τον κλάδο το Ισραήλ.

‘Εκτοτε έχει πληγεί εν μέρει από τον ανταγωνισμό της γειτονικής Αιθιοπίας, που προσφέρει φοροαπαλλαγές και περισσότερη ασφάλεια. Ωστόσο, η τέλεια εντατική δουλειά και ο ήλιος της Ναϊβάσα μάλλον θα την κρατήσουν στην κορυφή.

For more information
Wildfire Flowers
Ann Mugi

21 comments on “Kenyan roses for Valentine’s Day

    • I can understand how beautiful is to visit a place full or roses but i want you to see this film

      In an intriguing way a BLOOMING BUSINESS shows the world of Jane, Oscar and Kennedy, who all depend some how on the huge flower farms in Naivasha, Kenya.
      A poetic, cinematic and poignant documentary in which director Ton van Zantvoort goes deep into the lives of the main characters. Is the smell of the imported rose so sweet indeed?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Do you know, Efi, I’d never given much thought to where all the roses come from. I supposed most of them to have been grown locally. Good luck to this company, living in such difficult times. And a very happy Valentine’s Day to you 🙂 🙂


    • Thank you Jo for stopping by and for commenting you are most welcome.

      ❤ The only wish that i like for this day and for every day is this lol …. ❤

      “Do I love you? My god, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches.”

      – The Princess Bride by William Goldman

      Liked by 1 person

    • Goodmorning Beata!!!!!

      In the Middle Ages, roses were also hung from the ceilings of meeting rooms. It was understood that everyone under the roses was sworn to secrecy.

      In Greek mythology, roses originated from Adonis, the deity of plants and rebirth. Adonis was born from a deceptive union between King Theias and his daughter Myrrha. When King Theias realized that his daughter had tricked him, he chased her with his sword. To protect Myrrha, Aphrodite transformed her into a tree.

      King Theias shot the tree with an arrow, splitting it in half. It was from this tree that Adonis was born. Aphrodite took to Adonis and raised him like a son. As Adonis grew, he became an avid hunter. One day while he was hunting, Adonis came across Ares, one of Aphrodite’s past lovers, who was disguised as a wild boar. Ares attacked Adonis and when Aphrodite heard his screams, she ran into the forest and found him dying. The blood that ran from his wounds hit the ground and turned into roses.

      Liked by 1 person

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