A rose farm, between profit seeking, environmental sustainability and social responsibility

Step 3 of 4

I am Geert, a Dutch farm manager. I run a medium-sized flower farm (about 40 ha) directly beside Lake Naivasha. On our farm, we grow only roses. There are about 700 Kenyan workers on our farm, for whom I am responsible. In addition to the quantity and quality of the flowers we produce, economic factors play an important role for us. Therefore, our daily work takes place between the offices and the greenhouses. I enjoy living in Kenya, and I work with various organizations on a voluntary basis. For instance, I work with a team to protect the riparian zone of Lake Naivasha.

Rose prices have declined in recent years, but the costs stayed about the same. Only a small profit margin remains for the Kenyan flower farms, which only make up 13.2 percent of the total costs.

The shares of incurred costs of one rose of the retail price by countries (retail price 37 CT), exemplary*

* The data has been derived from balance sheets of several flower farms.

In order to be able to work profitably, we are dependent on the relatively low wages of our 700 employees. As a manager, I feel responsible for my workers, which is why our farm is investing in Corporate Social Responsibility projects, such as the construction of hospitals or the provision of financial support for schools.


For example, concerning water consumption and disposal, the FLOWERS & ORNAMENTALS SUSTAINABILITY STANDARD of the Kenya Flower Council requires that:

“The farm sources of water are sustainable (…) The producer is using the most water efficient means of irrigation (…) The producer has implemented a Water Management Plan which regulates the management of waste water (…).”

Sign for a farm-owned wetland scheme for wastewater

Within our capabilities, we are trying to implement environmental protection measures, such as wastewater recycling, which helps us to save fertilizer. In addition, we must meet the standards of numerous labels in order to retain access to the European markets.

We need many general, unskilled workers, whom we take good care of within the scope of our economic possibilities.

Thousands of unskilled farm workers? Aren’t they all being exploited?

In Chapter 4, you will learn how employees benefit from rose production, and why they nevertheless still often have to struggle.

 Continue your journey…

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