Wednesday , June 16 2021

Kenyans, who earn $ 100 a month, collect Valentine flowers Kenya

Naivasha, Kenya – Joyce Iminza gets off an old white bus and gets on the motorcycle taxi in Nawasha, a flower-rich city about 100km northwest of the capital of Kenya Nairobi.

– Take me to my house. My kids are on their way home from school, and I have to prepare a dinner for them, "she tells the driver as he goes up to sit behind him.

For six minutes she arrives in her one-bedroom house and starts cooking.

The 36-year-old has worked in naivasha florists' farms for 12 years. Despite the years of hard work, she struggles to maintain her family.

"I'm a lonely mother, my employer pays me $ 100 a month, and that's never enough to pay for my house, buy meals, and pay a tuition fee.

She is not alone.

Joyce Iminza works for colorful farms for 12 years and still can not support her family [Osman Mohamed Osman/Al Jazeera]

According to Flower advice in Kenya, an association that is a cut flower manufacturers, Iminza is among more than 90,000 workers in floriculture occupied by over 300 exporters from Kenya.

Due to its favorable weather throughout the year, Kenya is the largest exporter in Africa, with an average of 360 tonnes being exported daily.

He is the world's fourth-largest producer of cut flowers after the Netherlands, Colombia and Ecuador.

In 2017, according to the HCD, the public corporation, the floral industry Kenya wins $ 823 million, Europe is a major market,

p the demand for flowers is rising sharply in Valentine's Day cases, the sector is the best foreign currency employee.

Iminza says the government, which is responsible for regulation, ignores the interests of the workers of the colorful farms.

"Kenyan labor laws do not help us as workers, and our employers take advantage of these policies and continue to pay for what we have agreed to, so our lives literally remain at the same level, regardless of the number of years worked," she says.

The minimum wage for unskilled agricultural employee is about $ 65 per month.

This low minimum wage attracts large flower companies in Kenya, says Ferdinand Juma, chairman of the Kenyan Plantation and Agricultural Workers' Union (KPAWU) in Naivasha.

"The government thinks that investors are doing us a favor because they come and hire people, although these people actually benefit from cheap labor as a result of our government's investment-friendly policy."

Ferdinand Juma, chairman of the Kenyan Farmers and Farmers Association, says low minimum wages force giant cut flowers in Kenya [Osman Mohamed Osman/Al Jazeera]

Juma, now a 52-year-old and seven-year-old, works for 13 years cutting off flowers before joining KPAWU.

"When I was a flower worker, my colleagues, we never knew how successful this industry was," he says. "[We want to] make sure workers are informed. "

Through the alliance, Juma has previously been able to negotiate better working conditions on behalf of over 30,000 Naivasha employees.

But the main challenge is, he says, that many people take up these jobs because they are unemployed and desperate.

An example is Leonard Carani, 50, who has six children.

"I ended my education when I was in high school because of insufficient training fees," he says. "I was trying to get a permanent job before I got this one.

Karani works for 18 years at several flower companies.

His monthly salary is $ 110 – not enough to feed his family.

"Our lives are determined by debt," says Carani. This is the only way to keep my family. If I had other skills, at least I would look for other jobs. I have no options.

Leonard Karani, a florist and father of six, said he does not have enough money to continue his education [Osman Mohamed Osman/Al Jazeera]

Lawyer Cyprian Onyoni claims that most labor laws and policies were adopted during colonial times.

Although a significant amount of legislation has been abolished in the coming years, labor legislation dealing with wage regulation is not being reviewed for a long time, he says.

"This problem can be solved mainly by the Kenyan Parliament through the adoption of minimum wage bills that can be reviewed within a certain timeframe." As businesses grow, unskilled floriculture workers can be successful. employees, "explains Onyni.

Back in Nyhavasha, Imina, a single mother who works for $ 100 a month, finishes her childhood dinner.

"I have lived with debt – year after year – I have to take care of these children all by myself, I just pray that things will not change in the future," she says. "That's all I can do.

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