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Flowers: Good for Relationships and the Economy

Barry talks to Floral Artist Sima Mutabingwa  from Wedding Florist of the Year Winner, The Flower Bar.

Back in History;

The world’s largest flower auction began in a Dutch pub 200 years ago when a trader turned to his peers and asked, how much? Today the flower warehouse near Amsterdam occupies an area larger than 100 football pitches and accounts for over 50% of world sales. Of the rest, exports from Chile and Colombia represent 25%, and East Africa makes up just 10%. In Kenya, over two million people are employed or are involved in the sector and flowers worth over $700m from around 100 producers are exported to 60 countries


Aalsmeer Flower Auction (Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer) is a flower auction that takes place in Aalsmeer, Netherlands. It is the largest flower auction in the world. The Aalsmeer Flower Auction building is the largest building by footprint in the world, covering 518,000m² (5.57 million sq ft; 128 acres).

Situation in Tanzania;

The Arusha area enjoys perfect growing conditions with its high altitude, cool nights, and proximity to the equator for maximum hours of sunlight. And unlike in Europe, there is no seasonal production. Instead, it can offer 365-day competitive trading. But still, Tanzanian flower sales are less than 10% of neighbouring Kenya. Or are they?.

Flower gardening in Arusha area, Tanzania

It is estimated that 80% of locally grown flowers are sold through the Nairobi hub. As a result, Tanzania’s floriculture is at risk of protectionism and loses out on jobs, supply chain opportunities and tax revenues. But changes to the investment climate initiated by President Samia Suluhu Hassan are regenerating growth in Tanzania’s flower industry.

As technology develops, logistics improve, and in Europe, energy costs to heat greenhouses and wages increase, producers in East Africa can challenge the Netherlands’ stronghold on the industry by selling direct to wholesalers and retailers.

After harvest, flowers lose 15% of their value every extra day.


The opportunities for Tanzanian growers are plain to see. The global market for cut flowers exceeded $35Bn last year and is forecast to increase to $50Bn by 2028. Roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, and lilies account for 80% of global cut flower sales. Arusha can produce world-class blooms of these high-value varieties, and $30,000 an acre yields are achievable.

But satisfying world demand for flowers involves a complex ecosystem of farmers, refrigeration facilities, wholesalers, transporters, florists, and supermarkets. Timing is critical, and transfer from farm to shop by air needs to be within 24-48 hours as flowers lose 15% of their value every extra day.

Bypassing Nairobi to get a perfect stem to Europe will take detailed planning, airport infrastructure, and Government support.

Flowers pack-house

And Sima the florist, Explains;

Sima,  talented floral artist and founder of the Flower Bar, winner of this year’s Wedding Florist of the Year, explains the demand for such a perishable product.

She tells me that “flowers are sentimental representations of love, peace or compliment. Flowers make intimate connections, and their presence leads to increased contact with family and friends. When asked,  women immediately recall the last time they received flowers and from whom“.

Intrigued to understand more, I looked up a study that explored the link between flowers and life satisfaction by studying participants’ emotional responses to receiving a floral gift. The results showed that flowers immediately impact happiness and are a natural and healthful moderator of moods with a long-term positive effect on attitudes. Participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious, and agitated after receiving flowers. And they demonstrated a higher sense of enjoyment and life satisfaction. Two-thirds believed a floral gift has a deeper meaning and all expressed extraordinary delight and gratitude upon receiving flowers.


Sima, the florist

Sima adds that “flowers are an essential aspect of social customs. Traditionally demand increases on Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, Eid and Christmas. Giving flowers on birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, christenings, and condolences is the accepted way of celebrating an event or a life. However, in Tanzania, we are increasing giving flowers to say thank you, I love you, appreciate you, and to recognize achievements. Many people (and most tongue-tied men) say that they can express their emotions more easily through the giving of flowers.”

Your floral designs add grandeur, artistic expression, elegance, and style to events, conferences, and weddings. Flower barwas just voted Wedding Florist of the Year. What makes Flower barstand out from the competition?.

“I believe that our floral artistry, quality, attention to detail and total customer focus is the reason behind our success and recognition. Knowing that we work with Fair Trade and ethical suppliers and only use flowers from sustainable sources is particularly important to our corporate and diplomatic customers. Listening to what the customer wants, working to their budget and giving them excellent service and value sets us apart”.

Fresh flowers as gifts or decorations are not so common here as in Europe, the US or Asia, where 80% of households says they buy flowers at least once per month. There is also the cost to consider. What will Flower bardo to convert people to fresh flowers?

Well, originality, packing and presentation, delivery service and paired gifts like the Mothers Day promotion we did with the Moshaki fashion studio are some initiatives. Informing people about making fresh flowers last longer is also essential.” we also want companies to subscribe to our service and display fresh flowers to welcome guests and customers.”

2022 Wedding Florist of the year Award

Want your flowers to last longer. Here are the Flower bar top tips;

Make sure you use a clean vase and fill it with tepid water with a few drops of lemon juice or white vinegar. Remove any leaves from stems that will be covered by water. Cut the ends of the stems at 45 degrees. Change the water in the vase daily and keep the blooms out of direct sunlight.

Written by

~Barry Hogg~

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