It’s hard to believe that almost a year ago we started talking to a new customer about the possibility of growing some specific varieties of Chrysanthemum’s in Kenya – varieties which hadn’t been grown here before.
We embraced the challenge of a new-to-Kenya variety and fortunately so did our chosen partner supplier: Eco Roses – Utee Farm – a member of the Black Tulip Group. The variety our customer wanted us to grow was a pink Spider Chrysanthemum called Baltazar, bred by Deliflor. Deliflor kindly agreed to have the cutting material made available in Kenya, thus we were able to get all the necessary paperwork in order between all the relevant parties. The crop would be grown by Utee Farm enough to supply the stems requested and allow for a little waste, in the harvest time frames requested and sold to our customer, who in turn agreed to buy it at the agreed price and take the full volume contracted.
Now, here we are a year later and the crop is question is being harvested and delivered to the customer. A crop that they knew they could get the full availability of, in the window of the year they needed it, and with the grower knowing they could grow the whole crop and it already had a home ready and waiting with an agreed price.
Why do we contract grow?
There are benefits to contract growing for all parties involved. These agreements typically have to be made 6-12 months in advance in cut flowers, crop depending, which can work alongside New Product Development (NPD) Gate pathways. This then offers a level of certainty for the grower that the crop will be sold in full with a guaranteed cash flow and for the customer that the availability should be as agreed and that where a specific variety has been agreed there should be no requirement for substitutions. Specifications and price brackets are aligned and agreed up front to ensure all expectations are met on both sides. This works really well where a large volume is required of a specific variety in a certain period of the year.
What do we contract grow?
Contract grown crops are often but not always, single harvest crops such as in this case with Chrysanthemums. Lepidium, Matthiola and Lilies are other good examples. Crops which are harvested over a longer period of time can also be contracted such as Solidago and Roses. In this case once the plant is in the ground, there are multiple harvests, be it across the year, and/or, for a number of years. These can be contracted for the entire duration of the life of the crop, or a couple of seasons as agreed with the grower and customer. We are happy to coordinate and manage all types of contract growing agreements to make sure both parties are happy and expectations are met.
We take great delight in keeping our customers up to date on the development of contracted crops and welcome visits where possible. We are thrilled that this crop has grown successfully in Kenya and the feedback from the customer positive – all thanks to the great teamwork and dedication of Black Tulip / Eco Roses – Utee’s team and our own. Thank you all.