Rose buds

The Kenyan flower continues to catch the international eye year after year owing to its uniqueness. This prominence is a result of the zeal of the Kenyan growers who ensure the production of first-class quality flowers. Moreover, its believed that Kenyan flowers stand out globally in terms of longer vase-life.

Currently, for every 10 stems sold in Europe four are likely to be from Kenya. And now, Kenya is diversifying into other markets outside Europe. Also, the marketing model from auctions to the direct market has grown extensively over the last five years, targeting over 60 destinations. New markets like Japan, the Far East, Korea, Australia, and Eastern Europe are growing fast. The industry is looking forward to increased demand in the American market, now that Kenya has a direct freight to the US.

The success of the Kenya floriculture sector has been driven by an ideal climate to meet the market demand for all year round availability. Additionally, Kenya has excellent airfreight links to all the major trading hubs in the world. But most of all, the success of the industry has been built upon Kenyan employees who have grasped the opportunity and proved to be eager to learn and work hard.

Floriculture is one of Kenya’s great economic success stories. It is now the fastest-growing export sector in the Kenyan economy, providing direct employment for over 200,000 workers, of which more than half women, and overall creates employment for more than a million people indirectly and impacting in excess of 5 million lives.

Over the last 5 years, Kenya’s cut-flower exports have grown by almost 30 percent, according to Kenya’s Horticultural Crops Directorate. In terms of volume, this represents a staggering 5 billion stems of flowers per annum.

The cut-flower sub-sector significant growth has been achieved in the last decade in the flower industry worldwide. Kenya’s position in the export markets has continued to grow over the years.

The floriculture in Kenya is a glaring proof of determination. Part of the growing dynamism of the African economy is the highly competitive flower industry in Kenya – one of the top suppliers of flowers worldwide, especially to the European market. Kenya is the main supplier to the Dutch flower auction, accounting for 44.6% of total supplies.

On a global level after overtaking some seasoned competitors such as Israel through an average growth rate of 24% within a period of 10 years, it is rated the 4th largest flower exporter by value and volume closing behind the Netherlands, Columbia, and Ecuador. The Kenyan flower industry is one of the largest in the world. Kenya’s flowers are currently sold in more than 60 countries worldwide. However, most of the flowers are sold in European countries, United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia. 

The Kenyan flower industry is viewed as the oldest and largest in Africa generating approximately 1.29% of the country’s GDP. It is the third-largest foreign exchange earner. As early as 1988 the industry reportedly exported 10,946 tons. By 2017, 159, 961 tons of flowers were exported. In 2018 the cut-flowers fetched USD1.3 Billion according to Horticultural Crop Directorate (HCD). The flower industry is one of the largest employers in the country, providing employment to over 200,000 people directly, mostly women, and an estimated 2 million people indirectly.

The country’s flower power is attributed to its favorable agro-climatic conditions, which enables high-quality blossoms to be grown year-round without the need for expensive-to-run greenhouses. 

Kenya also has excellent transport links to Europe, and from there, the rest of the world through Nairobi airport, which has a terminal dedicated especially to the transport of flowers and vegetables. 

This means that delicate floral cargo that is perishable in nature can be shifted from growers to consumers swiftly. And the country’s productive workforce and technological know-how make the industry thrive. However, these successes of the flower industry were no mean feat. 

The industry had to comply with a number of standards to access the market. Indeed, Kenya’s flower export industry is of great benefit to the people of Kenya. In short, Kenya is the best place from which to set up a flower export business!


1 Billion USD

Annual Sales

200000 Directly employed

by the industry

4 Million

Lives Impacted

4 in every 10

stems sold in Europe imported from Kenya

Global statistics of Flower export and performance for the year 2018..

According to the World’s top export 2018, data research shows that Kenya was number four among the countries that exported the most flowers to the World to the tune of $ 750.7 million countings for 8% of the total World export. Global sales for flower bouquet exports by country totaled US$9.3 billion in 2018.

Overall, the value of flower bouquet exports rose by an average of 9.5% for all exporting countries since 2014 when flower bouquet shipments were valued at $8.5 billion. Year over year, the value of globally exported flower bouquets rose by 7.4% from 2017 to 2018.

Among continents, European countries sold the highest dollar value worth of exported cut flowers during 2018 with shipments amounting to $5.2 billion or 55.5% of the worldwide total.

Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean represent 25.4%, trailed by African exporters at 11.6% and Asian suppliers at 5.9%. Smaller percentages came from sources in North America (1.3%) and Oceania (0.2%) led by New Zealand and Australia.

The 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 0603 for cut flowers and flower buds suitable for bouquets or for ornamental purposes.

Popular varieties by Flower Growers in Kenya for export.

The following is a listing of some of the popular varieties by Flower Growers in Kenya for export in Kenya purpose.

    • Carnation
    • Spray Carnation
    • Standard Carnation
    • Chrysanthemum
    • Deco Chrysanthemum (Disbud)
    • Spray Chrysanthemum (Pompoms)
    • Fillers
    • Agapanthus
    • Amaryllis
    • Anigozanthos
    • Craspedia
    • Delphiniums
    • Eryngium
    • Eustoma Lisianthus
    • Gypsophila
    • Hydrangea
    • Hypericum
    • Leather Ferns
    • Limonium
    • Ruscus
    • Solidago
    • Statice
    • Stocks (Matthiola)
    • Foliage
    • Lilies
    • Alstroemeria
    • Asiatic Lilies

Flower bouquet exports by country.

Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of flower bouquets during 2018.

  1. Netherlands: US$4.5 billion (48.2% of exported flower bouquets)
  2. Colombia: $1.5 billion (15.6%)
  3. Ecuador: $851.9 million (9.1%)
  4. Kenya: $750.7 million (8%)
  5. Ethiopia: $212 million (2.3%)
  6. Belgium: $150.2 million (1.6%)
  7. Malaysia: $116.2 million (1.2%)
  8. Italy: $112 million (1.2%)
  9. China: $108.2 million (1.2%)
  10. Thailand: $77.8 million (0.8%)
  11. Belarus: $71 million (0.8%)
  12. Germany: $68.3 million (0.7%)
  13. Canada: $62.2 million (0.7%)
  14. Spain: $54 million (0.6%)
  15. South Africa: $53.1 million (0.6%)

By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 92.7% of all flower bouquets exported in 2018.

Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing cut flowers exporters since 2014 were: Belarus (up 4,214%), South Africa (up 60.3%), Kenya (up 35.6%) and Canada (up 33.2%).

Three top countries posted declines in their exported cut flowers sales namely: Belgium (down -46.9%), Germany (down -26.7%) and Ecuador (down -7.2%).

  • Calla Lily
  • Florinca – Spray Alstroemeria
  • Oriental Lilies
  • Orchids
  • Cymbidium orchids
  • Dendrobium Orchids
  • Peonies
  • Tulips
  • Perfumed Roses
  • Garden Roses
  • Scented Roses
  • Spray Roses
  • Premium Spray Roses
  • Regular Spray Roses
  • Standard Roses
  • Dyed or Tinted Roses
  • Premium Roses
  • Rose Petals
  • Sweetheart or Petite Roses
  • T-Hybrid Roses
  • Tropical Flowers
  • Anthuriums
  • Gladiolus
  • Sunflower (Helianthus)
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