Yatta constituency Kenya where for decades, residents relied on the Thika District coffee plantations for their livelihood faced a huge shift economically with the collapse of the coffee industry. Not only is the region hit by the fall of coffee farming but the high poverty rate is traced back to geographical location, the country’s history, and politics. Landlessness, intergenerational poverty, and ravages of diseases such as HIV/AIDS have affected the economy adversely.

Since the farm’s flagship, we have seen the community get excited to be part of the farm on different levels such as bunching, packing, harvesting, and managing the greenhouses. In a few months, Zeeflora has created employment opportunities for approximately 120 people with the hope of increasing this number as the farm grows and the demand for more hands goes up to meet the roses production demand.

“Flowers are blooming where poverty once flourished’. It’s a transformation that still amazes Kamau a 60-year-old man, whose two sons work on the farm.

Kamau who does subsistence farming on one acre of rented land says “most days, it isn’t enough,” shaking his head. “We barely survived.” The pandemic made things even tougher as most people lost jobs as different companies in the area restructured to keep afloat.

Kamau’s son Mwangi is happy with the result. When there was no employment and they grew maize with the hope of getting money to run the household it was often a losing proposition, he says. Typically, once a farmer pays for seed, fertilizer, and pesticides, there is a probability one can face up to 50 percent loss on their harvest. This further prompts a downward spiral into poverty, as loans with high-interest rates are often taken from moneylenders, explains Kamau.

The employment benefits are trickling down to the community. Workers can now send their children to study, people are getting better food and anyone who is ailing can get access to medicine.

Despite the hardships in the region, we hope as Zeeflora to nurture sustainable livelihood, reduce poverty further through cut flowers. We have a long way to go and are working to have this fountain reach the region and beyond.

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