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NEWS: Kenya’s flower industry set to measure carbon footprint


The Kenyan flower industry can now measure its carbon emissions following the development of a customised calculator for growers of cut flowers. At the launch in Nairobi, farmers described it as a practical tool, and industry associations as giving the Kenyan industry a competitive edge in an international market that is increasingly concerned with emissions disclosure.

The Carbon Reduction, Resources and Opportunities Toolkit (CaRROT) was developed by Camco Advisory Services (Kenya) in collaboration with the Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA) and Kenya Flower Council (KFC). The Excel spreadsheet tool allows users to capture data on several variables, including water, fuel, power, fertiliser and pesticide usage and then calculates carbon emissions accordingly. It will also allow users to easily compare seasonal variations in resource utilisation.

Although Kenya is a low carbon emitter by international standards, it is important to build clear indicators to guide a sectoral management action plan. “In the absence of data that indicates how much one is emitting, it is not possible to tell how one is fairing’’, said Stephen Mutimba, General Manager of Camco. Kenya Flower Council CEO, Jane Ngige, argued that the toolkit will increase marketability for Kenyan flowers by providing the data required to demonstrate that flowers are grown in a low carbon environment.

The toolkit was officially launched by the Netherlands Ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Joost Reintjes, in Nairobi on 11 September. Approximately 60 people attended, representing a broad cross section from government, industry bodies, flower farms and development partners. Reintjes emphasised the importance of innovation, voluntary standards and consumer awareness in driving the climate change agenda.

The launch also saw presentations by leading commercial flower farms that had been involved in developing the toolkit. Oserian Growers described it as a practical tool that enables farms to monitor themselves and take proactive steps to sustain the industry. Simbi Roses was particularly impressed by the industry life cycle analysis that assisted them in understanding the associated CO2 emissions from each stage of production. PJ Dave Flowers described the toolkit as “providing direction” for sectoral action.

The flower industry in Kenya is known for taking measures to respond to environmental impacts by embracing alternative sources of resources, especially water and power. Oserian is using geothermal energy for heating greenhouses, Bilashaka is using solar energy, and Timaflor biogas. Preliminary reports from Simbi Roses and PJ Dave confirm that flower farm waste can be used to generate energy. Many of these developments also contribute to carbon emission reduction which, thanks to CaRROT, can now be systematically measured.  Several such best practice projects were on display at the CaRROT launch.

Participation in CaRROT is free and data collection forms are available at participating institution websites.  Although the system is voluntary at the moment, parties are urging growers to embrace it as such measures may become mandatory in a world that demands data for emissions disclosure. It is expected that in about five years, when data can be consolidated, compared and clear indicators given over a reasonable period, the sector will present an industry carbon emission position.

CaRROT’s development is supported by CDKN. For more information visit the project page.

 

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