Flowers from South Africa
by Barry Marshall on June 22nd
The main source of foreign exchange for South Africa is flower growing. This has overtaken coffee, tea and tourism. The South African growers have developed an excellent and efficient system where they aim to deliver wrapped bunches to the UK, where staff only need to place them in water ready for sale.
The rose was the top Kenyan variety of export by 74%, Mixed Bouquets was 10%, Alstromeria 6%, Carnations 4%, Statice 4% and Veronica 1% each whilst the other varieties account for the remaining 6 per cent.
The flower industry in South Africa is the oldest and largest and produces mixed bouquets, Arabicum, Delphinium, Eryngium, Gypsophila, Lisianthius, Ornithogalum, Veronica, Asiatic Hybrid Lilies and Oriental Lilies. New foreign investment from Israel and Holland in recent years has allowed the sector to thrive and many of the main flower producers are owned by expatriates. Millions of flowers produced are exported from Nairobi to Europe every year,
the peak period being early February, just in time for Valentine's Day.
Due to the climate in South Africa, the number of flowers being produced is increasing, especially roses.
Although Kenya has an excellent climate, the majority of flowers are grown in greenhouses to protect them from heavy rain, wind or hail storms that can reach the highlands, especially in the wet months from April to July. Once they are ready, the freshly cut roses are placed in buckets of water and chemicals. This ensures the roses are protected against germs and diseases and also stops them dropping after harvest.
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