Airport fire wilts Kenya flower trade to the tune of $1 million a day. - CNBC Africa

Airport fire wilts Kenya flower trade to the tune of $1 million a day.

East Africa

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In one day, the Kenyan Flower Council (KFC) expects to lose $625,000 to $1million if it cannot fly its 300 tonnes of stems off to Europe says Jane Ngige, CEO of KFC.

Kenya is the fourth global exporter of flowers to Europe, making up 40% the market. Many of their flowers would be destined for the Aalsmeer Flower Auction in Holland, the largest flower house in the world, where up to 20 million flowers are sold a day. The fire will also affect their exports to the United Kingdom, Japan and Russia says Ngige.

According to Ngige the industry is relieved to hear that the airport has begun to get shipping on course again. She says farms were asked to stop harvesting their buds yesterday, after the news broke, and hopes losses incurred will be minimal.

Now that KFC has recovered from their shock, they intend to focus on improving their risk and risk management strategies. Kenya is ideally situated along the equator to provide flowers all year round, especially during winters in Europe.

While no casualties were reported, two people an airport worker and a passenger were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation, Kenya Airways' CEO Titus Naikuni, said in a press statement. But there has been serious disruption of the aviation operations at the airport.