Kenya has sent over 300 bouquets of flowers to London, United Kingdom in a show of solidarity with a country that remains its prime floriculture market amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The consignment was flown by the national carrier Kenya Airways Friday night and received by Flamingo Limited UK. The flowers will be distributed to those in the frontline of combating the pandemic including doctors, nurses and recovering patients and care homes in a campaign dubbed Flowers For Hope.
The initiative stems from a committee set up by President Uhuru Kenyatta and chaired by Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiangi that has brought together the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Kenya Airways and the Kenya Flower Council. KEPSA members including Elgon Kenya Limited, Flamingo Flowers Limited and others are also in the committee.
The team requested the Head of State to write the goodwill message on the flower sleeves. The message reads: There have been a few moments in history when the world has faced a crisis as far-reaching and consequential as this. It is exactly at moments such as this that we must display our humanity, perseverance and hope. Whatever the adversity, no matter the foe, we shall triumph together. We stand united. Tuko Pamoja. From Kenya with love – H E Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Our member, the Kenya Flower Council, has done this to show empathy and this sends a strong message of partnership at a time when many countries are facing difficulty. It is part of our campaign dubbed ‘Flowers of Hope’ informed by the realities brought forth by how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting world economies,” said KEPSA Chief Executive Officer Carol Karuga.
As the world grapples with the novel virus, the campaign to distribute flowers is informed by the need to celebrate and support those actively involved and affected by the contagion while helping in saving thousands of jobs in Kenya’s flower farms that are on the line as sales of cut flowers in overseas markets plummet to record lows. The Kenya Flower Council says the dip in sales is now below 35 percent of what would currently be expected. This, following Europe and UK local sales in florists that have declined to almost zero as customer spending shifts to essential foodstuffs. Yet even with these depressed sales flower growers have to still take care of flowers otherwise the plant deteriorates and will not deliver flowers in the future. Security must also be maintained to protect the farm infrastructure and people. Labour is still required to perform these tasks so that once the pandemic passes, production and sales can return to expected levels. These ongoing operational costs exceed by a clear margin of the revenue from reduced sales.
“Now more than ever we should remain united and resilient. Flowers are therapeutic and are a great way of expressing our appreciation to the gallant men and women working round the clock to take care of the sick. With this campaign we want to send a message of hope and solidarity to Kenya and the global community even as we work to ensure our brothers and sisters in the flower industry do not lose their jobs during these trying times and our highly acclaimed flower sector remains afloat,” said Bimal Kantaria the Managing Director of Elgon Kenya. The company has donated flower sleeves used in the campaign.
The Flowers for Hope initiative has already distributed thousands of roses to doctors, nurses and the sick in Kenyatta National Hospital, Mbagathi, Pumwani Maternity, Mama Lucy Hospital and Spinal Injury Hospital.