In Kenya the flower market is big business. European supemarkets are kept stocked with exotic blooms. The cost to Kenyans is high since the water being used is drying up rivers (Guardian 21/10/20060.
“One hundred miles from its source on the northern slopes of Mount Kenya, the great river Ngiro was just ankle deep yesterday as nomadic farmers walked through waters which have become the focus of conflict.
Kenya’s second largest river is a life-sustaining resource for these farmers, but it also sustains big business for flower farms supplying UK supermarkets. British and European-owned flower companies grow vast quantities of blooms and vegetables for export and last week the official Kenyan water authority, regional bodies, human rights and development groups as well as small-scale farmers accused flower companies near Mount Kenya of “stealing” water which would normally fill the river.”
A spokesman for the water authority, set up to bring the situation under control, stated
” ‘The flower companies are exporting our water. A flower is 90% water. We are one of the driest countries in the world and we are exporting water to one of the wettest. The minute that the flower firms came they met resistance. It was very acrimonious,” said Mr Maitima. “They are in direct competition with the peasant farmers for water and the biggest companies pay the same as the smallest peasant for water.’ “