Floriculture is a major global industry in both developing and developed countries. Global trade volume is estimated to be worth more than $100bn per annum. The main players are divisible into producers in developing countries and consumers in developed countries, including many in Africa.
With the continuous development of greenhouse technology, and advances in plant biotechnology, transportation conditions, and marketing strategies, floriculture has reached a historical maximum hub of activity and competitiveness
Europe is the biggest import and export hub. It is noteworthy that Kenya has excellent transport links to Europe, and from there, the rest of the world through Nairobi airport, which has a terminal dedicated specially to the transport of flowers and vegetables. This means that delicate floral cargo which is perishable in nature can be shifted from growers to consumers swiftly.
The sector has increasingly been faced by many challenges even as the global economic fortunes seem to be getting better. Consumers are getting more concerned about the quality of what they are receiving making it fundamental to ensure quality and more importantly safety. Concerns from the UK consumers for Kenyan produce to meet high quality standards are of prime importance. In a positive note, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) reports that increased awareness through the inspectorate among farmers and traders has reduced incidences of pests in produce for export.
Major Challenges faced by the industry include:
1) Transport and infrastructure-related production costs
2) Proper Utilization of Land
3) Low productivity followed by low returns on investments
4) Higher Rejection percentage of flower in green house and pack house
5) Higher rejection due to more time spent by flower in pack house in warm condition
6) Poor infrastructure and unpredictable weather
7) Obsolete technology and stringent international standards
8) Inventory of chemical and fertilizer
Here we bring some of the aspects on which Faber Infinite team has been working to deliver exceptional results:
1) Change in layout to enhance productivity
In pack house we have improved number of grading stems per minute by changing layout to single piece flow (We have helped clients with changes in layout to improve productivity by an average of 60%). By proper layout design of flower production block we can increase total number of beds per hectare and thus overall production can be increased (We have improved it by average of 15-20% for our clients in Kenya).
2) Increase in the number of stems planted
The Faber team has been striving to improve germination by growing more plants per square meter. Recently one of the clients has successfully implemented the methodology to improve stations per square meter.
3) Optimum Utilization of Land
Usually almost in every farm due to improper layout design at initial stage lots of land is not utilized which can be turned up into production land by proper layout and planning. Team Faber has been working closely with their clients to turnaround the production of flowers by identifying useful land and exploring its effectiveness, which has turned nonproductive land into productive land.
4) Quality Improvement
Flower farms have 2 flashes each year and it is seen normally during 2nd flash the rejection levels are high and production is also less compared to 1st flash which is called Variation or Gap between two flashes, by working on this variation or gap between two flashes rejection can be reduced by taking prompt action and more care of blocks (Like Reducing Nematodes, conducting proper Cultural activities and Crop maintenance, doing Scouting activity more frequently) during Second flash. Finally, there are alternatives to face the challenges by using an altogether different approach, through developing proper layout and land utilization models followed by logistical improvements that lowers distribution costs of inputs.
5) Flow improvement in Pack house
Usually in Packhouse, flow of flowers is very important because it impacts the quality of flowers due to warm conditions of pack house. So the target of each pack house is always to improve the flow in such a way that the flowers move in the minimum possible time from pack house to cold store after packaging. Team Faber Infinite made modifications in the flow using operational excellence tools to improve the flow of flower after packaging. Team Faber successfully helped one of the clients to reduce the flower flow time after packaging from 14 minutes to 30 seconds!
6) Inventory management
Managing inventory of chemicals and fertilizers is a challenge in this industry. Sometimes it is in excess and sometimes there is stock out. Each case has its pros and cons, like in case of excess stock there are chances of expiry. Team Faber infinite used scientific methodology of inventory management and reduced inventory value of fertilizers and chemicals from 7 million to 2.4 million and average stock out also reduced from 6 to 0.
7) Rejection reduction
Rejects received in pack house from greenhouses is a major concern which decreases the export and also increases the handling in pack house. Team Faber infinite applies different quality controls tools to reduce rejections. At one of our clients in Africa we have reduced rejection percentage from 3.5 % to 1.4 % which increase the exportable stems.
Faber infinite toolkit specially developed for Farms helps them to increase the production, labor productivity & reduce rejects and other wastes. Exceptional results have been observed in Flower farms.