The prolonged drought and drying up of river Molo and Rongai has negatively affected the production of flowers in Nakuru county.
The chairman of Rosette farm based in Rongai-sub-county Mr. Richard Desai said they were currently rationing flowers and only supplying to their long-term customers who have supported them for four to three years.
Desai observed that they were not selling flowers to new customers since they hardly have enough even for the regular customers due to water scarcity.
He said growing flowers required adequate and regular irrigation and any little shortage naturally reduces the production leading to loss of foreign currency.
Other flower farms in the Rongai and Molo sub-counties confirmed the serious challenges with the irrigation of their farms due to scarcity of water.
Some of the farms that depended on water managed by the Nakuru water company said the reduced and rationed supply has negatively affected their production.
Recently, the residents of Rongai held demonstrations at Kambi ya Moto over the diversion of water from river Molo and Rongai to influential people’s farms.
However, the diversions were removed the reduced water levels to small streams have not solved the water shortage, with the majority of them are forced to purchase from water boozers.
A resident of Rongai, Gilbert Kaplich said the horticulture industry was a major water consumer in the sub-county, competing for water with animals and home consumption, thus the need for increased water to reduce the escalating conflicts, especially during dry spells.
According to the 2022 Kenya National Bureau of Statistics report, the earnings from fresh-cut flowers increased by seven percent to what was recorded in the year 2021 and became the leading foreign earner beating tea exports.
Despite the water conflicts, flower farms in the county provide easily available employment, especially for women engaged in plucking and packaging.
The common flower markets such as church decorations and wedding organizers are feeling the pinch of flower shortage in the county.