The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KeBS) recently introduced stringent measures for local inspection of imported fertilizers. This, in turn, has not only caused shortage of the same in the country, but has also translated to increased production costs of flowers meant for export purposes.
Kenya’s flower grower and exporter Oserian Development Company is one of the companies who are affected by the measures put in place. As such, they have since lodged their complaints on the lengthy clearance process that now takes up to 2 months before the release of consignments.
While KEBS has traditionally certified the quality of fertilizers in the country of origin before shipment, it has introduced The new set of rules which include re-inspecting all consignments at the port of entry is for purposes of identification as well as curbing the use of counterfeits.
According to the Director of Human Resources and Administration at Oserian, Mary Kinyua, says fertilizer suppliers are incurring up to US $19,826 per day in demurrage fees. These costs that are being passed to the company have resulted in the increased production cost of flowers.
The situation is so devastating such that Oserian is currently predicting a dip in yields and increased flower prices. This will also be the case among other growers as they seek to compensate their margins. As a result, Kenyan flowers will become costlier at the competitive global market.
According to Ms. Kinyua, it only makes the situation worse since the flower industry has already been hit by bad weather, pest and disease pressure. This is in addition to the high cost of production as a result of increased fuel cost and fluctuating markets.
Oserian’s alarm comes days after the industry’s umbrella body, Kenya Flower Council warned of a looming crisis if the government does not address the current delays.