Finlays Kenya Limited has announced that it is closing two flower firms in Chemirei and Tarakwet, following a difficult operating environment in Kenya.
This is set to render at least 1,100 workers jobless, as the firm contemplates closing the firms by December this year, a year earlier that it had been communicated.
In a letter dated October 19, Stephen Scott, the Finlays Flowers General Manager stated that the company’s directors had decided to shut down flower farming operations in Chemirei and Tarakwet a year earlier than it had earlier communicated to the workers.
The firm had announced the closure dates for the two firms as December 2020.
“This has been an extremely difficult decision, but labour costs in Kericho are significantly higher than other locations in the flower industry in Kenya. This has caused the Kericho investment to become uneconomic and non-competitive,” said Scott in April 2018.
He added, “Three lots of industrial action against the company in the last two years has also contributed additional pressure on the viability of the business.”
A part from flower farming, the firm plants tea in Rift valley, where it says that it employs at least 9,000 workers.
“From the heart of our tea plantation in Kenya we produce in excess of 130,000,000 flower stems, ranging from roses and carnations to Matthiola and Alstroemeria (commonly known as the Peruvian Lily),” the firm says on its website.
Finlays first started growing flowers within its tea plantation in Kenya in 1989.
The company mainly focuses on the UK and the European markets.