The Kenya Flower Council (KFC) has decried low business in Kenya’s floriculture industry following the COVID-19 pandemic.

KFC says the directive to close public gatherings and to limit people’s transit by destination countries, has severely restricted consumer activity.

The council is now calling on the government to expedite all the VAT refunds owed to flower companies so as to improve cash flow and also to facilitate freighters on airlifting Kenya’s exports unhampered.

In a press conference on Thursday, Kenya Flower Council chief executive officer Clement Tulezi also requested the Government to engage lenders to extend moratorium period to individual growers during the current financial hardship.

He further requested the Government to consider suspending VAT on farm inputs, including fertilizers, pesticides and machinery to help meet other production costs.

According to Tulezi, all Kenyan farms have drastically reduced export volumes to below 70 per cent, with a sizeable suspending exports altogether.

He noted that should the situation persist for the next few months, then they will be forced to either send workers on unpaid leave or radically lay off workers.

Flower firms in Naivasha have already sent home more than 1,000 employees after huge losses following a closed European market over devastating impact of coronavirus.

The floriculture industry currently ranks as one of the economy’s fastest growing industries. The industry in Kenya provides direct employment to an estimated 150,000people