From Kenya with love

Blog by
11 February 2010

Supermarkets festooned with hearts and crammed with chocolate: Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us. Will it be a romantic meal, roses — or both? Kenyan products have your romantic gestures covered, and more. 

By buying Kenyan products you are supporting developing-world livelihoods, spreading the love that little bit further. 
Kenya itself is in need of some TLC. The recession has hammered Kenya’s main exports – horticulture and tourism.
During 2009, the Kenyan flower industry experienced a 40 per cent contraction in sales. It was the first year of negative growth in 20 years. A destructive mix of global downturn, a scorching sun, a lack of water in Lake Naivasha and fewer impulsive flower sales in the European market have shrunk total demand.
To the consumers, these purchases are just flowers. Indeed, people are getting a bit more choosey over where they buy their flowers, and what they buy. Do you buy from your recession-fatigued local florist, from an online ‘family firm’ or from your local supermarket? Do you buy local or development-friendly or seek-out Fairtrade? 
In the UK, supermarkets are helping you with these dilemmas, tapping into this consumer interest in learning more about the supply chains delivering their blooms. Waitrose is offering roses by country of origin (Kenya or Colombia), and M&S offering FairTrade bunches.
Supporting Kenya this Valentine’s Day offers even more: local spillover benefits. The flower trade has opened up export opportunities for many others, such as the trade in fruit and vegetables – mostly grown by Kenya’s small-scale farming community. Our pocketbook Fair Miles gives an introduction to these issues. 
Which all just goes to show a little love can go a long way.

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