Roses from Kenya
Brothers Jack and Richard Kneppers, went on a new adventure 11 years ago and started their own rose nursery in Naivasha, Kenya. Even though the two brothers are as different as day and night, they have started the nursery together from scratch. With a ton of experience, the two lads realised a growth from 30 to over 100 acres of greenhouse in just a short amount of time.
The number of acres is divided over 14 greenhouses, growing 13 different varieties of roses. The different greenhouses, covering 7,5 acres each, all grow a different variety rose. There are only 2 greenhouses, which have the same variety. Richard says that the 13 roses they currently carry, are selected based on their beauty but also their strength during transit. “Introduction of new varieties are always done in consultation with FleuraMetz in order to serve the different markets as good as possible”.
Just a tad different
The daily management of the company in Kenya is led by Jack. At first, the brothers intended to divide the management of the nursery in Africa between the 2 of them. They have stopped doing this after 6 months. “It’s not pleasant for our staff to answer to a different boss all the time”. Jack decided to stay behind in Africa and Richard admits that the life in Africa suits his brother better. “Everything is just a tad different over there”. Richard manages the office in The Netherlands, which conducts all the sales. “We have always held office in The Netherlands as this is the main market for African roses”.
The complete production at Kneppers Rozen is in their own hands. “The whole operation is designed in such a way to handle, touch or move the flowers as little as possible”. Everything is also done by hand, there isn’t any machinery involved. Richard says that his brother is incredibly precise and ensures that all the work in Kenya is done neatly, efficient and clean. “This is how we are able to put flowers on the market, which are far less sensitive to Botrytis and damages, year round”.
Back in The Netherlands there is a tight working process for customised preparations of the roses. “We have one huge advantage: we are a small scaled company and have clear working conditions. This means that the hectic never takes over and we can work steadily and organised.” Richard also points out that the whole team exactly knows what needs to be done. “I like working on the work floor myself as well!”. The lines in the company are short, same as the collaboration between Kneppers Rozen and FleuraMetz. “That’s why this collaborations works so well. Together we decide which way we will be heading in this ever changing market!”