Nini is a brand familiar to all rose buyers both in Holland on the auctions and in the retail markets in Western Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, The USA and Japan. Nini is supplied solely by two farms, Nini Limited and Lamorna Limited. Both farms are situated next to each other on the southern shores of Lake Navaisha in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. The total area under production is 44 hectares. Over 15 varieties of roses acceptable to the direct markets are grown offering a diverse colour range including reds, whites, yellows, oranges, pinks, cerises and bi-colours. The farms replace 25% of crops each year to keep up to date with the latest varieties and to maintain economic and physical viability of plants. Nini exports an average of 110 million stems a year of varying lengths depending upon market demand. For over 10 years, roses have been packed at source in packhouses on both farms.
Lamorna Ltd was started in 2003 by William and Fiona Coulson. It now comprises 21 hectares of roses grown in greenhouses, some in hydroponics and some in the soil. The farm employs just under 500 people. Seventy percent of the workforce have been with Lamorna from its inception including the senior management. Water is recycled and put back in to the fertigation system.
Nini Ltd was started in 1996 by Terry Coulson, Mike Higgins, Herman Stokman and Anton Pouw. It was the first purpose built rose farm in Kenya. Originally the farm grew roses for the Dutch Auctions, but since 2011, the farm has changed its varieties and ethos and become a key supplier to retail multiples. It employs 500 people. Again, all roses are grown in greenhouses and the entire farm is under hydroponics with a closed fertigation system.
The two farms provide employment for 1,000 people. Both operate lean management structures with short reporting lines enabling decisions and actions to be made quickly and efficiently. As both farms are family owned and run businesses, there is much interaction between all personnel on the farms. The farms work very closely together with regular meetings between managers and supervisors to discuss growing techniques, spray regimes, fertigation and post harvest procedures. There is a policy for regular training of all staff, some inhouse and some utilising outside professionals. Although staff are not housed on the farms, housing allowances are paid to all employees and transport is provided to and from work. Canteens have been built on the farms and these provide a meal for all employees. Free medical facilities are available on both farms with full time nurses.
Lamorna Ltd has its own SACCO, a body set up by employees to provide financial assistance for employees enabling them to buy land, build houses and educate their children.