Positioning Kenya as a leader in the floriculture industry includes the production and supply of fresh quality flowers to abroad countries. For these flowers to attain and fit the strict European regulations, the processes from production, handling of the produce after harvest (postharvest) till they get to the European flower market are to be thorough. Amiran, a driving force behind the Kenyan floriculture industry has been walking with farmers to ensure they attain the highest European prices by providing solutions and guidance on the right inputs to use when growing the plant and introducing the post harvest department that maintains the quality of produce after harvest.
Why Post Harvest Care and handling?
Post harvest is the final stage of production. Losses at the post-harvest chain are more severe because they represent waste/loss of human effort, farm inputs and all other resources involved during production. Losses in postharvest range from 5 – 60%. Occasionally, losses may be 100%, for example due to Botrytis Cinerea infection during the rainy season.
Stringent quality standards set by the market necessitate need for post harvest care and handling. The markets for fresh produce dictate the quality standards.
There is change/trend in flower marketing with many Kenyan farms shifting from the Holland Auction market to ‘Direct Markets’. With the direct relations the growers get immediate feedback on quality of their flowers.
Benefits of Amiran’s Post Harvest
Different types of flowers have different challenges/requirements. The way you handle a rose (sensitive to bacteria) is not the same way you handle carnations which is sensitive to Ethylene.
Keeping this in mind, Amiran is working with farmers by providing tailor made solutions to post harvest challenges. This has been done by carrying out trainings for grower/farm staff to emphasize on the collective responsibility and their contribution to the ultimate product quality, audits to establish the individual farm’s situation and recommend best solution and an in depth scientific research working hand in hand with researchers in the Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Centre, Israel.
Amiran’s range of post harvest products benefit package;
· 1. Protection against bacteria and fungi- Based on the traditional post harvest solution Chlorine (Calcium/Sodium hypochlorite) which acts as a bactericide and Aluminium sulphate (acidifier- bacteriostatic), Amiran offers solutions with advanced biocides. These include;TOG 6 (Based stabilized chlorine) and TOG Galileo (a non chlorine based biocide with residual activity)
· 2. Improved uptake – Amiran’s TOG-6 and TOG Galileo have added surfactants/adjuvants that enable continuous uptake.
· 3. Improved and uniform opening at the final consumer. Florets opening – Sucrose Long Life Flower Food
· 4. Florets abscission inhibition – TOG-75 introduced by Amiran is an ethylene action inhibitor (STS) which decelerates onset of senescence (yellowing, abscission, petals discoloration).
· 5. Delayed stem yellowing- Gibberellins and cytokinines – Amiran’s Tivag based on GA3 helps maintain the green of leafy flowers flowers.
· 6. Overall improved vase life, Better Quality, Better returns/prices
· Growth Regulators e.g Superlon to boost shoots after harvesting especially during cold season
T The control of Botrytis development in the post harvest chain by dipping in various solutions such as TOG-6, Switch, Polar and the most recent Dipnoy.
Kenya’s Floriculture Industry has currently embraced the importance of post harvest. A shift is noticeable, from the perception that ‘Quality is only achieved from the field’ with the current thinking being ‘need to maintain the Quality after harvest’ which is helping farmers have a higher bidding price at the market level.
Amiran understands that postharvest systems play a critical role in enhancing the competitiveness of cut flowers which by nature are highly perishable. The company’s goal is to help its farmers in delivering the produce to the final consumer as good as harvested. With good post harvest techniques Amiran farmers are earning trust at the market level as a quality producer and supplier, improving sales due to growing demand for excellent produce and gaining respect among top floriculture markets as a professional flower exporter, all of which help the farmer improve themselves while playing a significant role in pushing the ‘Kenyan Floriculture Industry brand a notch higher.