Nairobi florists stage fight for a piece of Valentine windfall
Posted Monday, February 13 2012 at 18:30
Formal flower traders have decried a move by City Council of Nairobi to license makeshift vendors to sell flowers in the city terming the move unfair and one that will deny them business.
The vendors were allowed to set up kiosks in the city centre following a deal between Nairobi City Council and the Kenya Flower Council.
The two groups want to make the flower kiosks a regular feature in major streets of Nairobi with Kenya Flower Council saying it will extend this to Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu.
The move is part of the Kenya Flower Council’s efforts to encourage a flower-buying culture among Kenyans, and part of the council’s move to beautify the city.
The flower kiosks will also act as tour guides, where the council will place maps for guiding visitors.
Mr Alfayaz Sunderji, managing director at The Flower Centre Limited, says they expect a 50 per cent dip in sales. “I do not think this is fair. I pay Sh100,000 in taxes to the council, yet they allow flower vendors to run the same businesses as us, for much less,” he said.
The kiosks vendors are paying between Sh1,500 and Sh3,000 for a tent a day. The vendors were given a three-day licence to operate on the streets, starting on Sunday, and ending on Tuesday.
Traders at the usually busy Nairobi’s City Market on Muindi Mbingu Street expressed concern over the move, saying that the volume of trade at the market will be significantly lower this year.
“You know people have traditionally known this market as the place to buy flowers from, people come from various places to buy here,” said John Mwangi, a florist at the market. “Now we are just too many of us selling flowers.”
Kenya Flower Council however says competition is healthy.