Today development-conscious people should make sure that the Valentine-flowers they get for their loved one(s) are from Kenya. At least that’s what Hilary Benn, British International Development Secretary, recommended yesterday:
“This Valentine’s day, you can be a romantic, reduce your environmental impact and help make poverty history.” (The environmental isn’t obvious considering that the flowers are brought in by plane, yet a recent study conducted at the University of Cranfield concluded that the ecobalance of flowers “made in Kenya” is positive as they are grown in nature, whereas their European counterparts use power-intensive greenhouses.)
Despite the terrible unrests in Kenya following the election, there are enough flowers around: four million stems landed in Amsterdam to be distributed all over Europe today. Flowers are, after tourism, the main source of foreign currency in the East African country and the industry employs around 70.000 workers, mostly women. 95% of the flowers are exported, but the local demand for tulips and roses is rising as new consumption patterns are spreading with globalisation.