East African Magical Farms to expand carnation production hub in Kenya

EMF, a carnations producer with farms in Ethiopia and Kenya, has secured investment from AgDevCo to expand into two further farms in the Naivasha area, Kenya.

The partnership with AgDevCo expands on EMF’s expertise as one of East Africa’s leading premium carnation producers. EMF currently produces on 60 hectares for export to Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East. With the planned expansion in Kenya, EMF will substantially increase its production and assortment by opening at least two new production locations, creating at least 400 new jobs.

Dirk Hogervorst, CEO of EMF, commented: “We are delighted to be concluding this financing with AgDevCo. EMF has already established itself as a supplier of some of the best quality carnations available in Europe, which is opening doors for us in other global markets. Our customers want more of our flowers. This financing will allow us to significantly expand our production and portfolio in Kenya – where we started producing at Kinangop Farm in 2022 – while maintaining our reputation for top-quality carnations.”

The market for premium carnations continues to grow in Europe. Ideal climatic conditions in Kenya, combined with EMF’s technical expertise, result in high yields of the highest quality flowers at a lower unit cost and lower carbon footprint than European producers, where flowers are typically grown in heated greenhouses.

Farms in Naivasha are less than a day’s travel to the international port of Mombasa, with sea freight links to Europe and other key markets.

“We are thrilled with this partnership with AgDevCo, which allows EMF to harness Kenya’s potential as one of the best places in the world to grow flowers,” said Riaz Currimjee, Chairman of EMF. “AgDevCo have been thorough and thoughtful in their approach and have structured a financing product that is well-tailored and aligned to EMF’s needs. We now have the tools to take advantage of the substantial opportunity we see for growth in premium carnations globally.”

AgDevCo’s Managing Director for East Africa, Rebecca Sankar, said: ‘We’re pleased to be making our first floriculture investment by partnering with EMF for this significant development in Kenya’s flower industry. We have been impressed by EMF’s commitment to quality jobs and sustainability, including actively exploring the future use of sea freight to minimize its carbon footprint. We see the potential for continued growth in premium carnations internationally. This will increase rural employment and skills in a niche but high-value segment of the Kenyan floriculture industry.’

EMF’s expansion in Kenya provides valuable employment and training opportunities for local communities in the Naivasha region, particularly with the challenges faced by rose growers in the region in recent years. EMF already employs some 600 employees in Ethiopia and over 200 employees in Kenya. With the planned Kenyan expansion, employee numbers in Kenya should reach similar levels to Ethiopia.

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