The blossoming business of love in Kenya - CNBC Africa

The blossoming business of love in Kenya

East Africa

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

Kenya’s cut flower traders are optimistic this season as they depict a blooming picture ahead of Valentine’s Day.

This is despite the losses the horticulture sector has incurred in recent months.

According to Steve Mungai, a florist at a market in Nairobi, “The expectation is very high coz right now we are not going to work on just one day. It is coming on a Saturday. We are going to take advantage of the weekend from Friday to Saturday and the way people are behaving we hope our customers will come in large numbers, we are prepared for them.”

(READ MORE: Is Kenya losing its top position in the horticulture market?)

Valentine's Day is just one of the bright moments for Kenya’s flower industry. Several hurdles though still exist especially in its trade with the European Union. Recently, the EU warned Kenya that it risks losing preferential access to the EU market next year if it fails to ratify the new Economic Partnership Agreements.

During a recent horticulture conference held in Nairobi Christophe De Vroey, Trade and Communication Counsellor, EU in Kenya said, “A prompt signature of the EPA in the month to come will secure the ratification of the EPA by the 1st of October 2016. Which is the time limit set for ratification by all countries benefiting from duty free quota free access to the European Market under the market access regulation.”

“Failure to make that deadline means that Kenya will again fall under the generalised system of preferences of that day.”

Despite Kenya’s export remaining well below its potential, the outlook for the sector remains positive.

(READ MORE: Kenya horticulture exporter's position threatened)

“We are certainly looking for other markets but the European market will always be our biggest market because it the biggest consumer on our global level. We are expanding our markets and entrenching ourselves in markets that we have secured,” Kenya Flower Council CEO, Jane Ngige said.

Moreover, this time Kenyans have gone all out to find creative ways of treating their loved ones. With the stakes raised some are even willing to part with 2.34 million shillings equivalent to 25,700 dollars, to spend a night at a presidental suite in a five star luxury hotel. 

Nonetheless many Kenyans have expresses skepticism over this offer with some terming it as ridiculous.