In Summary
  • Knowledge of the types of cold storage rooms, conditions for cultivation and understanding the market market are vital.
  • The biggest challenge currently is the high cost of investment. Cost of land has become a prohibitive factor for new investors coming on board.
  • NH Fair started some 15 years ago with 30-40 stands. Exhibitors pay some entry charges at the gate as we believe that people exhibit to do business.
  • All the information of how to contact us and what is needed is available on our website.

In about a month’s time, the country will hold the Naivasha Horticultural Fair, a key event in the sector’s calendar. Leopold Obi spoke to Richard McGonnell, the chairman of the event on what farmers should expect and how small producers can make money from the industry

What is your assessment of the horticulture industry in general? Is the country doing better?

Climate change has severely impacted business. Many flower farms are currently counting losses due to water shortage meaning they have to reduce their acreage.

Some farms have closed down while others have laid off workers as they battle prolonged drought. Other farms are struggling due to increased costs.

What challenges should farmers expect when they join the sector?

The biggest challenge currently is the high cost of investment. Cost of land has become a prohibitive factor for new investors coming on board.

It is time the government began leasing out land similar to the way it is done in Ethiopia, otherwise there will be few investors coming in.

Besides, electricity cost is also far too high and salaries are climbing too quickly. The government recently announced 15 per cent salary increment.

Workers expect a pay rise immediately they hear about this yet the environment of doing business remains the same.

Floriculture remains a preserve of big farmers who can access the export market. How can smallholder farmers be encouraged to join the sector?

It is difficult for small-scale farmers to make money in this sector especially in the international market unless they are tied to a good marketing outlet.

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