Say It Without Flowers
1st October, 2003
Say: ‘I am happy to pay for environmental degradation, chronic illness and labour rights abuses in countries that grow flowers for Western consumers but cannot feed their own people.’
Six reasons never to buy cut flowers again
1 Cash Crop impacts
In equatorial countries, where fertile land is a precious natural asset and food security is a recurrent problem, the cut flower industry continues to expand remorselessly. Investors in flower farms have no qualms about moving people off their lands. Exactly this happened to the Okiek people in the fertile Rift Valley region of Kenya. In March 1994 they were forced out of the Tinet Forest of Olenguruone to make way for a massive flower farm owned by a former governor of the Central Bank of Kenya.
• In 2000 sub-Saharan Africa supplied 43 per cent of the cut flowers imported into the EU. The value of these flowers was over €250m. And yet the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that 23 of these countries face severe food emergencies this year, and that over 60 per cent of their people have already suffered a 20 per cent decline in food available per head.
• After spending $27m promoting the export of cut flowers, India earned a measly $6.4m from the sector. As a direct result of this folly, the government...
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