Dr Harper said: "Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake of around 100 km2, and although once crystal clear and surrounded by papyrus, it has suffered badly in the past 30 years. A major factor is that Naivasha has been the fastest growing town in Kenya as a result of the bonanza of horticulture, cut flowers for export, which is now one of Kenya's top three earners of foreign exchange.
"As job opportunities have grown, the human population has grown more than twenty-fold, and settlements have sprung up in a haphazard fashion, clearing papyrus. In the same 30 year period, the population of buffalo native to the lake has trebled, knocking down the papyrus to eat it.
"Major flower growers are well aware of their responsibilities to the fragile environment of Lake Naivasha, and their reputation amongst consumers in Europe. Finlays, a major UK-owned tea producer and flower grower, has turned their concern into practical actions by growing papyrus from cut stems in their own artificial wetlands treating waste from their onsite operations, such as workers' canteens and laundry facilities".
"Finlays also has Fair Trade status, and major European retailers, such as the REWE Group, only buy Fair Trade flowers. However, Fair Trade does not require that farmers show a concern for the ecosystem from which the raw material for their product comes outside their own gates. Although the new Kenyan Water Act requires that they pay for this valuable "ecosystem service"- clean water- this does not directly pay for ecosystem restoration."
"With this new initiative, it will now be completely correct for the REWE Group to tell its German customers "buy a REWE rose and help restore Lake Naivasha"
Dr Harper's encouragement, through public lectures and media campaigning started some 7 years ago, as he saw the lake deteriorating progressively. The largest flower-growers such a
|Contact: Dr. David M. Harper|
University of Leicester