Consumer appetite for cut-price Kenyan roses for Valentine's Day is "bleeding the country dry" by threatening the region's precarious ecology.
ecology and conservation biologist, Dr David Harper, warned. Harper has spent over 30 years researching wetland conservation at Kenya's Universityof Leicester LakeNaivasha and said the growth of the flowers is draining the valuable water supply.
Seventy per cent of roses sold in European supermarkets come from
, most from Naivasha. Harper called on Kenya supermarkets to show more concern about the health of the environment that the flowers come from. UK
He said: "A notable few of the farmers sending roses to
Europeare showing concern and an eagerness to pioneer a sustainable way forward: the best flower farms have achieved Fairtrade status, which brings money back into the workforce for social welfare improvements. Two farms have even seconded senior managers to help 's water management agency at Naivasha." Kenya
But he warns that the massive scale of UK supermarket promotions of flowers over Valentine's Day—and subsequently on Mother's Day—without concern for where or how environmentally sustainable roses can be grown, will just increase the export of water—the scarcest natural resource in Kenya.