Birds have invaded flower farms in Nyandarua County, causing growers huge losses.
Pius Kimani, the Harvest Flowers Limited farm manager in Kinangop and Kipipiri constituencies, said the birds were a major threat to the industry with rose varieties being the most affected.
“Our roses take 75 days to 90 days to mature but nectar sucking bird destroys the stem in just a few seconds,” he said. “We lose about 30 percent of our production to the birds and that is a huge volume,” said Mr Kimani.
He said the firm is losing about 1.5 million stems annually in the 12-hectare farm at Murungaru in Kinangop.
“We are obliged to protect the environment, we cannot use harmful chemicals or kill the birds because we are environment-friendly farms. But we are finding it very difficult to operate,” said Mr Kimani
Governor Francis Kimemia said controlling the birds would be tricky since some of the birds are listed under protected species.
“We need a discussion with other players in the tourism industry and wildlife ministries to see how the farmers can be protected or compensated.”
Pius Salim, the general manager Aberdare Flowers Limited, which owns 39 hectares of rose farms, said the birds have hit at a time that growers are recovering from huge losses caused by a shortage of fertiliser.
The company exports about 1,000 metric tonnes of roses to the EU and the Middle East annually, and Mr Salim said losing 30 percent of their flowers to birds will hurt jobs and deny the government tax revenue.