Kenyan flowers in demand from North America

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Many will be out buying roses for loved ones this weekend for Valentine’s Day on Sunday and they could well be Kenyan flowers, which are in high demand, notably from North America.

IAG Cargo says there is a blossoming trade for Kenyan flower growers and initial figures show flower volumes destined for the US have increased over 50 per cent on last year’s season, with popular destinations including Vancouver and New York.

This increase in shipments the carrier says reflects a wider trend – increased e-commerce capabilities have enabled buyers, particularly in the US, to source flowers directly from farmers, predominantly those in Kenya.

Purchasing directly from the source means that buyers can order exactly what they require ahead of the busy Valentine’s season.

IAG Cargo head of commercial, David Shepherd says: “We always anticipate that key calendar dates, such as Valentine’s Day and All Saints Day, will see an upswing in flowers from their origin markets to destinations across our network.

“Our hubs in London Heathrow and Madrid are well equipped for the transportation and handling of these perishable goods, ensuring that they’re kept fresh and arrive in time for full bloom.

“What’s been interesting over the past years is the increasing move by buyers to source flowers directly from farmers, in addition to the traditional auctions. This means they’re able to get what they need much quicker, owing to better connections and the boom of e-commerce. It’s great to connect local growers and help bring their products to market.”

The Valentine’s Day period for air cargo carriers generally starts in the last two weeks of January and ends in the first week of February. Unsurprisingly, the traditional rose has been the most popular flower shipped on IAG Cargo flights, with 95 per cent of roses shipped red in colour.