As part of the farm’s business diversification strategy, Oserian Development Company has embarked on expansion of its key facilities in readiness for an envisaged increase in population as its industrial park takes shape.
“We want to be ready to offer people who will settle here basic facilities associated with an all rounded business park,” said Mary Kinyua, Director, Human Resources and Administration.
Ms Kinyua was speaking in Naivasha when the firm unveiled a new block of eight classrooms funded with premiums from FairTrade, at a cost of Ksh 14 million at the Oserian Primary School.
At the same time, Oserian has upgraded its health centre by installing a CT scan and a dental chair that were also unveiled. “We will no longer refer our staff for these health services,” Ms Kinyua said.
The School expansion project has been undertaken to decongest the already overstretched capacity at the public school built by the flower farm as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility programmes.
The block was officially opened by Fairtrade UK head Michael Gidney in a ceremony attended by among other dignitaries, Naivasha Member of Parliament Mrs Jane Kihara.
Ms Kinyua has asked the government to step in and provide at least eight teachers since the school faces a major shortage of instructors.
Naivasha, Kenya’s flower city, is poised to grow into a major economic hub following plans by the government to create a dry port as part of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) strategy, and push generation of geothermal power to reduce reliance on hydro energy.
These developments have seen a major re-alignment of business in the Lake town, with Oserian taking the lead in setting up a business park that includes a flower business zone, real estate, agroprocessing industries and related support infrastructure for about a 20,000 population expected to work and live within the Oserian Two Lakes Business Park.
According to Ms Kinyua, these people will need schools for their children, and Oserian is planning ahead to ensure that that this important aspect of social development is taking care of. “We are putting up a public school that is able to give our children equal learning facilities with those from other good schools as our contribution to Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.
The Oserian school expansion comes in the wake of introduction of music school at its supported educational institutions, in support of the Kenya government’s new curriculum in the country’s education sector focusing more on talent development than academic pursuit.
The farm’s educational policy is develop talents alongside academic grades to create a rounded individual as well as avail past time activities that are helpful in living a healthy life as per the farm’s overriding Flori4Life slogan. The tagline captures Oserian’s four main development lines – Flori4Water, Flori4Food, Flori4Schools and Flori4Nature. These show the community support focus programmes for education, water, food security and environment for sustainability of life. Each is aligned to the world’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Under SDGs No 4, Quality Education: Providing equal access to affordable vocational training and to eliminate gender and wealth disparities with the aim of achieving universal access to a quality higher education, Oserian Flowers has built seven schools running from daycare to secondary schools within its expansive farm to cater for staff children and the community. The music school is open to all interested in the art.
About Oserian Development Company diversification programme
Oserian Development Company Ltd, one of the largest flower growers and exporters in Kenya has embarked upon a bold plan to diversify its commercial activities.
Consequently, the Farm has been subdivided and Change of Use amended to Industrial, Commercial and Residential uses in support of the diversification plans.
Oserian is already a small town in its own right, with over 11,000 people living in its Company funded housing estates and benefitting from the Company funded Creches, Schools, Medical Centre and Social Halls. The new strategy will ultimately see the expansion of these amenities in support of the diversification which will see the creation of an industrial park which will be known as Two Lakes Industrial Park. In addition we have already created Two Lakes Flower Park and Two Lakes Business Park – both of these are already up and running with tenants in situ.
In order for the Business to be better able to focus upon these diversification plans, we have recently Contracted out all our flower packing operations and similarly put all our non-rose crop production on a Contracted basis. Both providers are also looking to offer their services to the other Companies that are moving into the Flower Business Park. All businesses operating from Two Lakes Flower Park must comply with the accepted flower industry norms.
Negotiations are ongoing with additional tenants for both the Business Park and the Flower Park and we have received the first significant expression of interest in taking premises within the Industrial Park.The new developments are in line with the foundations of green energy and creation of agro-processing businesses that are seeking steam and affordable electricity. Upon completion, the entire Two Lakes project it is expected to create over 20,000 new jobs.
Agriculture remains part of our DNA and in addition to the continued growing of Roses, the Farm is also diversifying into growing other non-flower crops of which further press statements will be made in due course.