Multinational flower firm Finlays will close its two farms by December 25 due to the increasing cost of doing business.
According to a statement by General Manager Stephen Scott dated October 18, the directors said they reached the decision since rose prices are dwindling because of oversupply in the European market and decreasing demand.
Further, unfavourable weather conditions, staggering labour costs and weakening exchange rates are also the reasons why the farms are being closed.
"It is no secret that in the last 18 months, the flower industry has been facing severe challenges... As a result, the directors have made the decision to close Chemirei and Tarakwet farms earlier than initially communicated. The final closure date will now be December 25," the statement reads.
Mr Scott added that employees who were initially seconded to Murara - formerly known as Hilverda - will also be affected. "All employees will be made redundant in accordance with the labour laws, existing Collective Bargaining Agreement, their specific terms of service and will be paid their final dues in full."
The two farms intermittently occupy a total of approximately 70 hectares inside the vast James Finlays’ tea plantations in Kericho.
The closure comes a year after the company announced the intention to close the two farms, a move that was opposed by Rift Valley political elite and the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU).
The flower department of Finlays has been at loggerheads with KPAWU over pay and compensation of employees. The latter say they have suffered health complications as a result of the chemicals used in the flower farms.
Early last year, the company announced that it had incurred losses running into millions of shillings following a strike that had caused destruction of property and brought its tea processing business to a halt.