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Willem Kea, Greenfresh:

"Africa: "Kenya is becoming a strong player for greenhouse herbs"

At Greenfresh in Rijnsburg the import season of fresh herbs started again after a reasonably good Dutch season. Willem Kea observes a good development of Kenya as a supplier of herbs. "We have more and more direct lines with growers from Kenya and that is running very satisfactorily. In a country like Israel one is a lot more dependent on small growers and a shipment may well come from a number of producers. Kenya offers us more certainty. The companies are a lot bigger and therefore easier to control in the areas of residues and traceability. Furthermore we import herbs from a number of other areas in addition to those from Kenya."

"With these professional companies Kenya is very strong where certainty of supply is concerned. This is of major importance in order to supply the present and growing demand for our herbs. Availability remains an issue, for instance with tarragon during the recent period, but because we obtain the herbs from just about all continents we were in a position to satisfy the demand of our clients well," Willem says.

"The supply of basil from Kenya is doing especially well, but just about all fresh herbs already come from there. We are also busy with the special herb varieties," Willem continues. "The preference for herbs is different per country, but in general we see that basil and chives are absolutely on top. Mint is a good number three and we are also selling more coriander and dill all the time."

"We also notice that people are becoming more confident about the standard assortment and experimenting more. Sales of sage increased strongly during the past years and oregano is also sold more and more. People learn to appreciate herb varieties more and more as well."

The local cultivation of Greenfresh for the better part takes place in glasshouses. "The climate here is too irregular to be dependent on open air cultivation. MRL
(maximum residue levels) is also easier to control in the greenhouses. Therefore with us only a small part comes from cultivation outside," Willem tells.

Greenfresh mainly concentrates on Dutch wholesalers/exporters and does not supply supermarkets directly. "Others have specialized in this, but we do not exclude anything for the future. We are, however, very good in small-packs for the export markets. Also the sales to hotels and restaurants (wholesale) are doing well. The professional users are also becoming more awake to the wide application of fresh herbs. Slowly it is getting better in the hotel and restaurant trade and they are already trying to get out of the crisis. The creative and active hotels and restaurant
entrepreneurs are coming out on top and will then do extremely well!"

For more information:
50 B, Vinkenweg
2231 NT Rijnsburg
Tel: +31 7140 10806
Fax: +31 7140 10012
[email protected]

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