Featured Past Articles

Pesticide resistance can become a problem when the same chemicals are used over and over to control a particular pest. After a period, the pest may develop resistance to a chemical so that the chemical no longer effectively controls the pest at the same rate, and higher rates and more frequent applications become necessary until eventually the chemical provides little or no control.

The best way to manage pesticide resistance is to focus on three strategies: avoid, delay, and reversal. Avoid the development of pesticide resistance problems with the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs, which reduce reliance on chemical control. Delay resistance by using pesticides only when needed, as indicated by monitoring, and when pests are at a susceptible stage.

Ruth Vaughan

Plant nutrition is the study of the chemical elements and compounds necessary for plant growth, plant metabolism and their external supply. Without proper plant nutrition, plants tend to die off or produce little or no yield.

In my line of work I visit hundreds of flower farms a year; the flourishing, the ticking over, and the ones in dire straits. A lot of my more demanding work is dealing with farms that suddenly run into problems. “Ruth, please come and visit our farm as soon as possible, our production has suddenly dropped to half” is a common call. My advice to flower farmers on the critical issues in plant nutrition in floriculture would be as follows:-

Start with the Basics
Start with the basics, understand your soil and water and know what you are dealing with. A solid ‘risk’ assessment before you even buy the farm is recommended.

By Mary Mwende Mbithi

South Africa’s founding father, Nelson Mandela, once said, ‘Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead…’ and indeed Porini Premium Flowers has every reason to celebrate as they mark a Decade since the start of operations!

The Inception
Ten years ago, in the peripheral region of Olenguruone, Molo in Nakuru County, what began as a noble idea was ultimately propelled into a reality. The inception of Porini Premium Flowers was a beautiful milestone for the founders of Isinya Roses Ltd, which by then was ten years old having started in the year 2001.

Porini, a Swahili word that means ‘wild,’ became the little sister to Isinya roses. And just like the wild flowers, ‘You must allow yourself to grow in all places people thought you never would;’ Porini Premium Flowers has continued to bloom in all aspects, bringing a new face to the flower industry. Last year, Porini turned a decade old, her sister farm Isinya Roses turned two decades old.

Powdery Mildew

Experts in the fields of plant pathology, entomology, cultivation, climate, and technology work together with entrepreneurs and scientists from a range of fields. This collaborative approach combines innovations with the latest scientific knowledge and important and relevant questions from the professional field.

Healthy substrate and soil
A healthy substrate or soil is an important starting point for any healthy horticultural crop. Therefore, sustainable adaptations and cultivation techniques are important to create resilient cultivation systems. In resilient cultivation systems, more emphasis is put on preventing diseases as opposed to treating outbreaks. To achieve better disease prevention, a multi-disciplinary approach is needed. This requires optimal physical, chemical and biological characteristics in the rhizosphere and rooting environment so that better growth and higher resilience of the plant, as well as the control of pathogens, can be achieved.

Intercontinental ocean shipping of agricultural products is considered more carbon and cost efficient and may provide more flexibility compared to air freight. The Kenyan government is actively supporting sea freight so that Kenya remains competitive in the global market. Although sea transport is already common practice for some Kenyan fruit (avocado, pineapple), for flower export, this option is still poorly explored.

Kenya exports a significant amount of products to the Netherlands, most of which are related to agriculture. Globally the main mode of transport for trade is ocean shipping, this is however not the case for Kenya. Most of it is transported by air as this is a quicker form of transportation. For agricultural products with a short shelf life such as flowers, fruits and vegetables this is especially important. In 2020 however, COVID-19 exposed the limitations of airfreight in Kenya. Passenger flights carry freight in the belly of the plane and due to a high number of flights being cancelled there was a huge shortfall of airfreight capacity. By increasing maritime shipping, Kenya can provide an alternative way of transporting goods, decrease costs and reduce its environmental footprint.

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service is training experts to help detect a new invasive mango mealybug pest.

According to the UN-Food and Agriculture Organization that is supporting in training the experts, early detection and early identification of the pest will give countries in Eastern Africa region an advantage to launch early action.

This will help mitigate the damaging effects of the pest. Mango mealybug feeds on the tree and produces droppings which make the leaves black and sticky. This lowers the strength of the tree and its production of mangoes. During heavy attacks, a whole part of the tree looks blackish in colour.

The mealybugs are easily spread through international trade in plant materials. The 18 diagnostic experts come from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.

“’Rules-based trade’ ensures that flower trade runs smoothly”

“Trade rules tend to be taken for granted. However, without rules, there would be mayhem. A trading system that is based on rules helps ensure that flower trade flows as smoothly, predictably, and freely as possible.” The World Trade Organization recently posted a video in which they focus on rules-based trade in the floriculture industry. In her recent LinkedIn post, Sylvie Mamias, Secretary General of the international floriculture trade association Union Fleurs, discusses the importance of WTO’s focus on floriculture trade.

Let’s talk trade
“How inspiring to see that the World Trade Organization chose flowers to illustrate its latest LetsTalkTrade video episode and explain the concept of ‘rules-based trade’ with a concrete example,” says Mamias. “A clear and useful reminder that a global trading system based on rules helps ensure that international trade flows as smoothly, predictably, transparently, and freely as possible. It also guarantees fairness, stability, and non-discrimination.”