Fairtrade Africa participated in International Flower trade Expo, the biggest fair of its kind in Africa. The event took place from 3rd – 5th June 2015 at Oshwal Centre in Nairobi Kenya.
Her Excellency the First Lady of Kenya, Hon Margaret Kenyatta opened the fair, and in her speech, she applauded women in the floriculture industry, who form a vast majority of the workforce.
She went ahead and assured consumers of the highly acclaimed flowers from Kenya and how the workers continuously strive for responsible and safe production of cut flowers. “We also strive to protect, conserve the natural environment and promote the welfare of all farm staff for sustainability,” she concluded.
As she walked through the exhibition booths, she commended the beautiful blooms, which were a sight to behold. In particular, she was drawn to flowers from one of Fairtrade Africa’s newly certified producers, Batian Flowers. They had exhibited, some of the premium roses produced in their farm, whose varieties included, Mondial, Deep Purple, Red Naomi and Royal Porcelina.
Fairtrade Africa with the support of Fairtrade International also exhibited and visitors thronged the booth in all three days. Most visitors expressed interest in matters to do with certification and Fairtrade Sales. Others were keen to learn about Fairtrade while others expressed their heartfelt gratitude at the benefits they have enjoyed as a result of Fairtrade certification.
Ann Mugi, from Wildfire Flowers based in Naivasha Kenya, expressed her gratitude at the growth their Flower farm has experienced since they received Fairtrade certification. “Before Fairtrade, we used to sell 60% of our produce direct and 40% through the auction. Nowadays we sell 100% direct and 30% of our produce is sold as Fairtrade,” says Ann. “We have benefitted through various trainings facilitated by Premium and as workers we have benefitted from home improvement projects proposed and approved by the workers. Through Premium our households now have basic amenities and most recently we installed solar lanterns to light up our homes.”
Nicholas Munyao a happy worker at Oserian Flowers Ltd, explains, “In 2013/2014, I did a diploma in Logistics and Management, sponsored by Fairtrade Premium. This consequently earned me a promotion which came in with a better package. In my coffers I had some disposable income to support my two younger brothers’ pay their school fees for secondary school.”
I further got an opportunity to work for Stokeman Rozen Kenya ltd, a sister company to Oserian Ltd, which does propagation of rose plants and summer crops. “I am happy with my current job and in the near future I hope to advance my career in the logistics field,” adds Mr. Munyao.
During the fair, Fairtrade Africa and Fairtrade International facilitated a round table on the living wage. Fairtrade’s approach to living wage takes a holistic approach that will advocate for transparency around wage levels, use of living wage benchmarks, promotion of collective bargaining at sector and workplace level, removal of barriers to workers collectively bargaining and creating transparency around costs of production so that buyers understand what it costs for an employer to be socially sustainable and estimating the effect of raising wages on the total costs of production as a basis for discussion.
The topic had been received with mixed reactions by the farm owners initially closed to the idea but with furthered explanation by Fairtrade Africa’s Flower Manager, they welcomed the proposition as an all-inclusive approach.