Floriculture on Lake Naivasha, Kenya


Kenya is the third flowers’ exporting country of the world. From 2006 and on, associations, farmers committees and workers are carrying out campaigns and protest rallies to denounce the numerous rights violations committed by floriculture companies operating in Kenya. Near Lake Naivasha around 50,000 people work in floriculture and multinational companies are accused of violations of trade union rights, exploitation, lack of safety measures and damaging the health of local communities. Over 60% of the labor force are women, who have to leave their children under the care of old women. This precarious situation has led to an increase of sexual abuses on children. The more than 30 flower farms in the Lake Naivasha region have lowered the lake 10 feet more than what is healthy and since 2013 the Lake suffers strong droughts during the dry season. Moreover the companies own all the land surrounding the lake, restricting access to pastoralists such as the Masai and other users. Other traditional economic activities are under threat as well, such as fishing because of the increase of invasive fish species and the decrease of other fish stocks. The Naivasha Lake used to be renowned as a special bridwatching location, while today the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers by the floriculture compromise the Lake’s biodiversity.

Basic Data
NameFloriculture on Lake Naivasha, Kenya
ProvinceRift Valley Province
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Invasive species
Specific CommoditiesCut flowers
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Lake covers a surface area of 115 km2.

million roses a year. The companies ship more than 88 million tons of cut flowers a year, worth some $264 million The daily wage is around 7 Birr (around 0,60 euros).
Project Area (in hectares)400
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2001
Company Names or State EnterprisesSher Agencies from Kenya
Panda from Canada
Karuturi Global Ltd from India - has acquired most of Shers holdings
Relevant government actorsKenyan Wildlife Service, Naivasha Water Resource Management Authority
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersKFC, FIDA, KLA, Lake Naivasha Riparian Association, ILEC - Japan, Council of Canadians
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
Local ejos
Social movements
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Waste overflow, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseThere has been no changes.
Development of AlternativesThe assurance of workers rights and sustainable floriculture practices by filtering waste-water and by increasing the use of rainwater.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The floriculture companies continue their activity exactly the same.
Sources and Materials

Rose and Lavoro. Dal Kenya allItalia lincredibile viaggio dei fiori. Raitano, Pietro; Calvi, Cristiano. Ed. Terre De Mezzo. 2007.

Kenya: Minorities, IndigenousPeoples and Ethnic Diversity. Minority rights group international. Ed. Minority rights group international. 2005.

Consumatori del nord, lavoratori del sud: il successo di una campagna della societ civile contro la Del Monte in Kenya. Gesualdi, Francesco; Mutanga, Willy; Ouma, Stephen. Ed. EMI. 2003.

Unjust Enrichment. The making of Land Grabbing Millionaires. Autori Vari. Ed. Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. 2006.

The Land Charter. Autori Vari. Ed. Kenya Land Alliance. 2007.

Nowhere to go Forced evictions in Mau Forest, Kenya. Autori Vari. Amnesty International. 2007.

Land Update-The Draft National Land Policy: a Step Towards Land Reforms. Autori Vari. Ed. Kenya Land Alliance. 2006.

Land Update- Relevance of the World Social Forum to the Kenyan Situation. Autori Vari. Ed. Kenya Land Alliance. 2007.

Land Update- Challenges Facing the Implementation of the Forest Act 2005. Autori Vari. Ed. Kenya Land Alliance. 2006.

The Case for Womens Land Rights in the Proposed New Constitution. Autori Vari. Ed. Kenya Land Alliance. 2006.


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Drained of life, Ogodo, O., Vidal, J., February 2007, The Guardian
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Kenya – Lake Naivasha, WWF Involvement
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The Price of Kenyan Roses and the tragedy of Lake Naivasha, 2009, MakeWealthHistory
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Other Documents

View on the Naivasha Lake makewealthhistory.org
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Woman worker in a flowers' greenhouse On the banks of the Lake Naivasha, wwf.panda.org
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Meta Information
ContributorLucie Greyl
Last update30/10/2015