The floriculture industry in Africa (and worldwide) is extremely fragmented, as a large portion of production is carried out by small-scale farms, which then sell on their products to distribution firms. However, a handful of large, vertically integrated companies, which are involved all stages of the industry, from production to distribution, do exist.
VERTICALLY INTEGRATED COMPANIES
The Bangalore-based agricultural company founded by a former mechanical engineer is the leading producer of cut roses in the world, producing 555m per year in Africa alone. It has flower farms in the Lake Navaisha region in Kenya and in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (as well as in India).
Its cultivation land in Africa spans around 292 hectares. The company has an integrated approach to production, which includes in-house plantation, cultivation, transport and distribution. The company’s markets for its flowers include not only Europe (Holland, Germany, UK and Italy) but also developed countries in East Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan) and the United Arab Emirates.
Output from the Kenyan farms, estimated to be 1.5m stems to Europe per day, is especially impressive. Production in Ethiopia is still embryonic (Karuturi only started exporting flowers from the country three years ago) but it is forecasting impressive profit margins over the next couple of years. The company is currently heavily involved in plans to diversify its agricultural production to include agro-commodities such as rice and maize. The extent to which heavy investment in the project will affect its activities in the floriculture arm of its business is not yet known.
THE DUTCH FLOWER GROUP
The Dutch Flower Group is the leading flower trader in the world. The company’s annual turnover is $800m. It is made up of more than 25 companies and is involved in production, sourcing, and wholesale and retail distribution of flower products. It sells on average 55m flowers per week to over 60 countries.
The firm has farms in Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya. Due to its takeover of Mavuno Network in 2011, a vertically integrated business, which includes Kenyan flower producer Oserian (see below), it expects a notable increase in turnover in coming years.
Oserian is the leading flower cultivator and exporter in Africa, supplying major supermarkets across Europe.
It hosts the biggest and most technically advanced flower production centre in Lake Navaisha, Kenya.
The company is fair-trade certified and is seen as a leading innovator in ethical and environmentally friendly floriculture.
FLAMINGO HOLDINGS LTD
Flamingo Holdings is a vertically integrated horticulture business. It is the result of a recent merger between UK flower company Flamingo Holdings, a packaging and distribution company, and the Kenyan company, Homegrown Ltd.
Homegrown is the continent’s biggest exporter of flowers and vegetables.
Flamingo also owns Dudutech Kenya and Flamingo Flowers South Africa. Homegrown Ltd constitutes 15% of Kenya’s horticultural exports, employing around 6,000 Kenyans and supplying cut flowers to most leading supermarkets. Turnover exceeds €500m and the company produces 1.5m bouquets per week.
Neha International is relatively small but should be carefully observed in coming years. The Hyderabad-based firm is an emerging leader in agro-production. A relative newcomer to the Ethiopian flower market, it followed in the footsteps of Karuturi by purchasing a 50% stake in the Ethiopian floriculture firm, Oromia Wonders PLC, in late 2010, bringing the total hectares it owns in the country to around 15,000. It has recently expanded its market beyond Europe to the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates. It has a market cap of around $6.5m.
IMPORTANT NON-PRODUCING COMPANIES: SOURCING, DISTRIBUTION AND AUCTION
Zurel is a leading flower distribution company, founded more than 100 years ago. It exports cut flowers and potted plants to 60 countries, employs 200 people and has a yearly turnover of more than $150m. It imports flowers from East Africa, including alstroemeria and carnations from Kenya. It is based in the Dutch town of Aalsmeer, which hosts the world’s biggest flower auction complex.
Floraholland is the sector’s leading flower auction company and is in many ways at the heart of the international floriculture industry. It recently merged with Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer to a value of $5bn. The company has six auction centres, which attract an expansive network of growers, exporters, distributors