The journey of a rose

Kenya exports over 120,000 tons of fresh-cut flowers every year, producing more than 50% of all roses grown in Africa. From being harvested in industrial greenhouses in Naivasha to arriving at wholesalers around the world later that day, every rose undergoes a journey that is meticulously planned every step of the way.

After being picked, cut, measured, packaged and undergoing quality control checks, roses from Naivasha are transported to Kenyatta airport in Nairobi, where they are loaded onto refrigerated cargo planes and flown to the Netherlands over 4,000 miles away.

The Netherlands is the world’s largest exporter of flowers. Nearly 70% of Kenyan flowers are bought and sold at the famous Aalsmeer flower auction, which sells around 20 million flowers every day. Here, the flowers undergo 30 quality checks before getting sent to auction.

Flowers destined for the UK market are also shipped from here. Last year 32 million flowers and plants (that is £17 million worth) were shipped from the Netherlands to the UK for Valentine’s Day.