A number of flower farmers in Naivasha have resumed production and export after a month of financial and job losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The resumption has been attributed to the increase in cargo flights and partial reopening of supermarkets in some European and the Dutch auction.
The owner of Maridadi Flower Farm Jack Kneppers said with an increase in production, some of the workers who had been sent on unpaid leave have now been recalled with hopes that demand for the exports will increase and be sustained in the coming weeks.
With production on the rise, the farmers have however been forced to introduce stringent measures including taking of temperatures and provision of masks for their workers to contain the spread of the virus at the farms.
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Kneppers added that the farm was shipping out flowers four times a week unlike in the past where daily production went to waste.
“At the moment we are shipping out over 50 per cent to the European market and disposing of around 20 per cent on the days that demand is low,” he said.
Speaking at his farm, Kneppers said that they had been forced to uproot 15 per cent of their crop due to the crisis caused by the pandemic. Adding that they were happy now that the situation is improving by the day.
On safety measures, he said workers had been provided with face masks and were observing social distancing as per the government directives.
“We are making sure that every morning and afternoon the workers’ temperatures are recorded and they wash their hands every now and then,” he said.
The supervisor in charge of grading section Ruth Oyack said that the company had retained all its workers despite the current crisis.
She added that they were keenly following up the laid out regulations by providing their workers with masks and sanitizers.
Speaking earlier, the CEO Agricultural Employers Association (AEA) Wesley Siele said the drop in the exports had contributed to the limited movement of consumers in Europe.
He added that supermarkets mainly in the UK, Sweden and Russia were still ordering the fresh produce from the country though high flight charges is the main challenge.