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Fish versus flowers

February 6, 2018

The area around Kenya's Lake Naivasha is sometimes known as "the flower bed of Africa." But the industry — essential to the country's economy — is heavily polluting. Some companies are trying to be greener.

Kenya's booming flower industry
Image: DW

The legacy of Kenya's toxic lake

Project goal: To establish more sustainable business practices on Kenyan flower farms and to pass on innovations from larger plantations to smaller ones.
Project implementation: German development agency GIZ has already set up pilot projects in two Kenyan counties, Mombasa and Nakuru.
Project significance: The cut flower industry's continued success is vital for the Kenyan economy. A quarter of the country's GDP is generated by its small farms and Kenya is the fourth largest exporter of flowers in the world after the Netherlands, Colombia and Ecuador. Close to a third of flowers in Europe come from Kenya.
Project partners: The International Climate Initiative (IKI) and the GIZ.

Kenya is the fourth largest exporter of cut flowers in the world. The business is lucrative but polluting — as can be seen at Lake Naivasha, where many of the flowers that are ultimately exported grow. For the best part of 10 years, fish in the lake have died in large numbers and many pollutants can still be detected in the water. However, many Kenyan flower farms already work sustainably, Oserian being one example. The company has a "Fairtrade" label and also carries out wastewater treatment procedures.

A film by Manuel Özcerkes

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