As I walked to work yesterday, I passed by a tree with beautiful new blooms and basked in the glory that is a wet spring morning in Washington. I thought about my current efforts to grow my own flowers and how mother nature makes it look so nice and easy until the seeds are lying dead in a pot of the "healthiest organic soil on the market!!!" No, no, no, all those beautiful bouquets we see in the supermarkets or garden stores are the not only the work of mother nature, but most likely the work of Kenyans. Yup - Kenya is the top exporter of flowers quickly followed by countries such as Colombia and Ethiopia!
Pics from here
This isn't such a news flash for anyone who has been to parts of Kenya where flower farms seem to go on forever and are only rivaled by tea farms. Even in Nairobi, flowers can be found for chump change just about anywhere. As the world continues to struggle with a not-so-rosy economic scene, countries like Kenya and sectors like horticulture are definitely feeling the squeeze. When fewer lovers out there but roses this year for V-day basically someone's belt in Kenya was getting tightened as well.
Now, I honestly don't buy a lot of flowers but my venture into eating as locally as I can leads me to meeting a lot of local gardeners selling beautiful stems grown right here in my backdoor of Maryland, Pennsylvania or Virgina. This always leaves me wondering who has the better deal: the Kenyans whose flowers make it into just about every corner of the EU (Colombia pretty much has the U.S. market) but I'm sure the Kenyan pickers only get a small slice of the pie; or the local farmer who doesn't have access to all the local supermarkets and mega-flower auctions and has to sell their stems for an extra $1 or $3?
So who do you think has the better end of the stick?
Check out more on Kenyan flower power here and here. You can also learn more about one of the biggest flower firms in the country here.