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Environmental Sustainability And Corporate Responsibility
These farms understand the integral role they play in the local community and the surrounding environment. This became particularly apparent after the 2009 drought, which affected many businesses in the local area. This scare forced local businesses to evaluate their businesses processes. Finding water efficiencies in everyday tasks was the key to ensuring the long term sustainability of floriculture in the area for years to come.
However this drought only reinforced the importance of the efficiency savings and sustainability improvements that the farms continue to work on. To compensate for the area they have had to clear to build their flower farms, one of the farms has planted 300,000 seedlings. Like many other businesses in the region, the farms rely on Lake Naivasha for things such as irrigation. To ensure the future sustainability of the lake, local businesses and organisations have founded the Payment for Environmental Services Scheme. As part of the scheme local growers and farms are rewarded with agricultural capital like improved seeds if they farm in such a way as to increase water flow to the lake.
Ensuring long term sustainability
One of the Fairtrade certified farms also contributes to the Lake Naivasha Growers’ Group, where agricultural best practices are shared with other growers to ensure the long term sustainability of both the large farms and the small subsistence farmers who live in the area.
This can involve things like: learning to breed pest killing insects to avoid the use of pesticides. using thermal energy to heat water. This can then be passed through the greenhouses to stop the growth of mould, which in turn means that less fungicide is needed. using organic fertilisers to decrease the volume of chemicals that might find their way into the lake. improving irrigation efficiency so as to use a lower volume of lake water. The farms are also very aware that the space their flower farms take up could have been inhabited by local wildlife. As a result, one of the Fairtrade certified farms has created a wildlife sanctuary. The sanctuary is spread over an impressive 18,000 acres, and boasts White Rhinos, Buffalos, Leopards, Giraffes and Warthogs as inhabitants. Floriculture has given the region a welcomed boost in jobs. One of the Fairtrade certified farms now produces approximately a million flower per day, with the help of its 4,800 staff.
The VegPro Longonot Fairtrade Farm
As mentioned above, we source our flowers from a range of different Fairtrade certified farms. One of the other flower farms that we source our Fairtrade flowers from is the Longonot farm. This farm is also based in Naivasha. The farm has a clear aim to benefit the economic and social welfare of the farm’s employees. One of the main tools that Longonot use to achieve this is the Fairtrade Premium Committee (FPC). This committee is a requirement of Fairtrade Standards and was assembled to decide on where to spend the fairtrade Premium in the local community.
The Fairtrade committee have spent a portion of the Fairtrade Premium they receive on Educational projects. The FPC of Longonot are committed to providing employees and their families with opportunities to learn and build a better life for themselves. This includes providing employees and their families with computers courses, driving courses and tailoring courses. The FPC have also provided local affiliated schools with books to aid the learning of pupils in the local area. Those pupils who perform particularly well also receive funding from the committee to attend high school and further their education.
Education is just one of the causes that receives support from the FPC. The Committee is also determined to improve healthcare in the local area. On that note the committee provides the local hospital with money to buy more beds. Malaria is also a serious issue in the region. Consequently the committee have provided all employees with mosquito nets to keep themselves and their family safe. One of the other causes that the Fairtrade Committee are committed to is the environment. Access to clean drinking water has been a big problem in the Naivasha region for a long time. They have provided funds to build a well in the local primary school. This well now supplies the local inhabitants with clean water.
The farms that we source our Fairtrade Flowers from have done a great deal of work already; however they want to do more. Buying a Fairtrade bouquet from us will enable farms like the VegPro Longonot Fairtrade Farm to do more to improve the lives of their employees and inhabitants of the local area.