Timaflor Ltd

Mr. Simon Van Der Burg, Owner Timaflor Ltd

Managing your leadership career is much like managing your stock portfolio. You must continuously decide on how to make your personal brand more valuable by knowing what skill-sets, capabilities and aptitudes to invest in and which not to throughout the course of your career. The ebbs and flows of your leadership career require you to make important choices about how to give your personal brand value. This must have been the case with Simon Van De Burg when he started a 5ha flower farm as a hobby in 2006. Eight years down the line, the forty years experienced Kenyan grower has seen his brand turn into a tangible and measureable influence into the sector with the farm growing to a serious 86ha investment.

Choice of Market
Future-oriented buyers of roses always search for new opportunities for both their own and their customers’ market positions. The purpose is two sided, a satisfied consumer and a sustainable positive result at the end.

What’s needed to succeed?
A clear insight in a completesustainable positive result at the end. What’s needed to succeed? A clear insight in a complete assortment of cut fresh and high quality roses, the ability to shift as quickly as possible through direct contact with the market, perfectly organized logistics, daily quality control and further preparation as you and your customers prefer. Aalsmeer auction offers this all.


“Every day, every week and every month-you must be mindful about how your personal brand as a leader can elevate your relevancy, impact and influence-and it’s your responsibility to define its distinction before someone else does’, Simon told the Floriculture Team as they toured his expansive farm. The auction has its preference and is a completely different concept. This makes it very difficult to serve both markets, a position Timaflor Ltd. understands better. Timaflor Ltd. opted to stick with the auction market as most of the other growers went into direct market. “I will be the last person to leave the auction”, he adds.

It not just about the one who is in-charge, one’s hierarchy or rank, or whether or not one has a good relationship with the auction, it is all about consistence and value to your customers. The auction is a big sponge which cannot be programed and only weather dictate it’s supply and demand. Of the over 500 buyers in the auction, over 100 buy from Timaflor Ltd every day.

Timaflor Ltd is a reliable supplier of the auction whose balanced quantities decorate the auction daily. Though no direct communication with the customers, there is blind trust due to their consistency, popular varieties, good vase life, opening, colour, bud size, stem length and travelling.

In the auctions, you are your own boss; you have no commitment with any buyer. There are no pressures on specifications in any day. However, you must make sure you supply a cocktail of all colours and sizes daily.

Variety Selection
Unlike most of the Kenyan growers, Timaflor Ltd has never faced price challenges in the auctions. This is due to their choice of varieties. Timaflor Ltd. invests on the competitiveness of the variety hence having only 25 varieties for a farm of 86ha. The selection has maintained Timaflor Ltd. as the home of the finest roses in Kenya. Most growers want to serve the two markets hence overstretch on the choice of varieties.

Solar Energy
One of the most challenging realities facing today’s grower is cost of energy. Well, that may not be the case with Timaflor Ltd for long. Located in the equator, the farm has taken advantage of the free God’s given sun. A newly installed greenhouse solar energy enables collection and storage of power in batteries for continued supply of heating and lighting. In addition to emphasizing the importance of sustainable energy solutions, the company has estimated a save in energy costs of up to 40%. The first phase of the project is already in use benefitting slightly over 20ha. The rest of the farm will be fully covered in three months' time.

The project has enabled Timaflor Ltd. to undertake its production by using solar power as an alternative energy source which is the growing trend among horticulture farmers in the region due to increasing energy costs. The new system is not only environmentally friendly but has also been said to be more reliable than the Kenyan electricity grid because of a constant, reliable and stable supply.

Tucked in the Timau area of Mt. Kenya, the eight year old farm attests that the greatest asset in their expansion is the human resources. Timaflor Ltd. Values its employees and is committed to continuous investment in personnel development. “When we care for our employees they will take care of our flowers hence keep our customers happy,” said Simon. Adding, “Timaflor Ltd. is a small family where each member is somebody and his or her views and concerns are for the family”.

To ensure this, the farm has developed a healthy package which includes salaries and other financial benefits, medical training in regard to Aids, safety, safe use of chemicals and other disciplines related to their fields. All pesticides are applied strictly according to manufacturer’s instructions. Simon said Timaflor Ltd endeavour to provide a safe, hygienic and healthy working environment besides providing adequate and appropriate protective clothing and equipment.

The company recognizes the importance of sprayers. The sprayers have to pass a pre-employment premedical examination which includes physical fitness, general health and cholinesterase levels which then form the baseline measures upon which regular checks are measured. An alteration programme of three months is also applied. “We are dedicated to caring for our staff that in turn cares for the company,” said Simon.

Timaflor Ltd strives to foster rational use of fertilizer application through soil analysis to establish soil nutrient levels. The use of fertilizer is influenced by crop requirements. The company observes strict standards of pesticide, fertilizers and water usage.

The pesticide spray programme is supervised and directly driven by levels of pest and diseases linked to scouting. Spot spraying is used as the first line of action. Their computerized irrigation system ensures minimal water, fertilizer and chemical spillage.

Pest and disease infections are monitored daily, with observations scored on a pest/ disease score sheet. This reduces the need for blanket spraying hence minimizing environmental (both aquatic and terrestrial) degradation. If the pest /disease discovered by the scouts are well known, the relevant chemical is chosen and the spot spraying team swings into action to check the problem. The company has also invested in Biological control.

IPM is a key ingredient in the control of a number of pests and diseases. Red spider mites are controlled with two kinds of predatory mites, Phytoseiulus Persimilis and Amblyseius Californicus. Both are applied at fixed rates per ha per week.Spot applications of additional Phytoseiulus are applied to specific areas of mite infestation. Thrips are controlled using a predatory mite called Amblyeius Cucumeris. The farm is drenched monthly with Trichoderm which offers protection against soil borne diseases, this promotes healthier root system, thus improving uptake of water and nutrients.

Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Care Timaflor Ltd through its generous hand and big heart has continuously responded to numerous appeals for assistance from the community around. This response has been through extension of helping hand as requested and through need assessment by the company. We are part of the larger Timau community says Simon.

Environmental policy at Timaflor Ltd. recognizes and accepts the concern for the environment as an integral part of its corporate business strategy. As such, the company is committed in protecting the environment through policies and practices which improve the environment.

Any threat of pollution or environmental degradation from their activities and products is identified and either eliminated or effectively controlled. The company which is continuously audited by different companies is currently KFC Silver.

The farm is set to expand both physically and technologically as no limit can be set. As indicated earlier, the farm will be fully solar powered in the next three years and by next year will hit 100ha.