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African Flower Producers Struggle as Pandemic Disrupts Supply Chains

In Kenya, Africa’s number one flower exporter, farmers are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel after their sales almost dried up in March. Kenya Flower Council CEO Clement Tulezi says Europe, Kenya’s largest market, is slowly waking up again, with lockdowns easing and shops reopening. “What we saw at the start of April was that the orders were beginning to come back,” he says. Current orders are about 65% of what they would normally be at this time of year. Neighbouring Ethiopia, the continent’s second-largest flower exporter, has experienced similar problems to the other markets. The Addis Fortune newspaper reports that in March the country exported less than 20% of the 160t of flowers usually shipped daily to Belgium, France, Germany and the Middle East. Ethiopia’s flower industry is worth almost $300m a year, and is among the biggest in the country after coffee and khat, a chewable recreational stimulant.