Features

Supporting Kenya’s cut flower sector adapt to climate change

3 June 2019
ITC News
The country’s floriculture sector is increasingly feeling the impact of climate change and realizing the urgent need to adapt to stay competitive

The cut flower sector is one of Kenya’s main exports and one of the largest employers in the country. Highly sensitive to changing weather patterns, the industry is increasingly feeling the impacts of climate change. In recent years, many flower farms have had to cope with a range of threats: heavy rainfalls, prolonged cold weather and too high temperatures in the greenhouses. As a result, scheduling the cutting ahead of key sales periods such as Valentine’s Day or Christmas is becoming challenging.

The International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Trade for Sustainable Development programme began work in 2018 to support the competitiveness of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Kenya’s floriculture sector as well as the tea and coffee sectors, looking to build climate resilience across international value chains. The overall objective was to provide support to MSMEs to integrate climate-change considerations into their business risk analysis and to create climate adaptation strategies that include practical and bankable measures. Financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the project has also carried out interventions in the textile and agro-processing sectors in Morocco.

Kenyan floriculture companies partici­pated in a six-month customized coaching programme that helped them identify numer-ous adaptation measures. These included
the selection of new flower varieties that can tolerate higher temperatures and the use of temperature and humidity sensors to control the temperature in the green houses.
The project highlighted the urgent need for SMEs to build capacity and skills to actively manage climate-induced risks and to strengthen awareness of, and access to, green finance.

It also showed that climate change adaptation is more easily achieved through collaboration along value chains, to initiate joint action to tackle sustainability issues in trade.