November 23, 2017: The second edition of Flower Logistics Africa 2017 had a full house representing a cross-section of the entire value chain of flower trade. Revolved around the core theme of “Enhancing Africa’s flower power through better logistics,” the event was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi and attracted participation from Africa and outside.

The participants of the day-long conference deliberated on the typical challenges faced by the flower industry as a whole. The discussions revolved around the need for standardisation that will enhance exports and gain traction for Kenya’s flower industry in the global market.

The changing paradigms like the entry of e-commerce players are expected to drive the flower markets in the coming years. The flower trade players may have to look towards a ‘Look East’ policy as demand from China will increase in the coming years.

Jane Ngige, chief executive officer of Kenya Flower Council (KFC) who was part of a panel discussion, emphasised the need for a single standard for the flower industry. “Now growers follow different standards that are set over the period, the supply chain industry follows a different code, airlines follow IATA standards. So what we are looking at is to create a uniform code and link it to the IATA standards as it is followed by every operator in the world,” she said.

Though KFC may be able to put together a single code for the flower trade industry, who will take the lead to implement the standarsidation remains a question.

Technology took centre stage of discussions as integrations are rapidly happening in the supply chain. The technology adaptation at the grower level is different from what is happening at the logistics level or at the airports/ airlines levels. This is again pointing to the pressing need for a single integrated platform that makes the communication easier.

“Processes need to be simplified, and technology will help in this. Effective regulations are required to keep the industry in check. But those should not be laborious ones,” said Susan Akwesi, manager, Saudia Cargo pointing towards one of the major concerns of the industry.

The industry is also looking to share data to bring in efficiency. Liege Airport’s cargo sales manager, Eric Gysen highlighted that the Liege airport on an experimental basis started sharing data with the flower value chain operators.

Peter Musola, cargo commercial manager at Kenya Airways, pointed out “how collaboratively the stakeholders can work together to support and improve speed in flower trade.”
All were in agreement when the speakers called for a more collaborative approach from all stakeholders in the flower trade value chain that would be the way forward for the flower industry.

The event which was organised by Logistics Update Africa, was sponsored by Saudia Cargo, Holland Flower Alliance, Kenya Airways Cargo, Africa Flight Services, Astral Aviation, Network Aviation Group, Liege Airport, Flower Watch.

The conference was also supported by industry association such as Kenya Flower Council (KFC), Cool Chain Association (CCA), Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA), The International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH), Union Fleurs – the international flower trade association, Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) and WCA Perishables.

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