Home GENERAL NEWS Amid stifled export market, flower growers offer hope to the sick

Amid stifled export market, flower growers offer hope to the sick

by biasharadigest
BRIAN OKINDA

By BRIAN OKINDA
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The Kenya Private Sector Aliance-led initiative “Flowers of Hope” continued to deliver bouquets at hospitals, bringing hope to caregivers and patients.

This week, some 1,000 bunches of flowers were taken to Mama Lucy Hospital, Pumwani Maternity and the National Spinal Injury Hospital.

The flowers are donated by flower farms under the Kenya Flower Council and distributed by the alliance together with Elgon Kenya and the Rotary International.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed the message of hope on the sleeves accompanying the flowers, further giving recipients hope that the government cares.

The flower donations are among other initiatives being carried out by the participating organisations to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The others are food distribution and mounting of handwashing stations at various places.

The initiative seeks to offer relief to those affected or directly dealing with Covid-19, considering that the blooms brighten up lives. Kenya is known globally as a leader in the production and export of flowers.

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The sector has been badly hit by the outbreak of the new coronavirus. Markets in Europe are shut while flights are suspended, essentially grounding the production and consumption of flowers.

As a result, thousands of flower farm workers have been temporarily sent home as the world awaits the crisis to end.

IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE

While recipients of the bouquets appreciate the gesture, the salient call at every hospital is basic supplies like masks, gloves, uniforms and material support to caregivers, who are having to worry about attending to patients, contracting the virus, and taking care of their families and the general community.

Just like flower blossoms, the underlying message of the ‘Flowers of Hope’ initiative is “we shall overcome Covid-19”.

The first bouquets were distributed at Kenyatta National Hospital and Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi on Thursday last week as the project kicked off.

Meanwhile, the Kepsa National Agriculture Sector Network, chaired by Elgon Kenya managing director Bimal Kantaria, has lauded government support in according farm produce and inputs free movement to avoid disruption of farming and produce distribution as measures are implemented to contain the spread of the virus.

Kantaria said the importance of agriculture cannot be overemphasised. “As people stay indoors, at the isolation centres, in the quarantine facilities or hospitals, they must be fed and therefore food must be available. This means farmers must be assisted to plant and take care of crops while ensuring at every stage handlers must be protected and protect themselves not to spread the virus,” he said.

He urged the government to include imports of farm products like fertilisers and agriculture chemicals among essentials to avoid disrupting food production, which could aggravate the Covid-19 crisis.

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