How your supermarket flowers empty Kenya's rivers
Author: John Vidal, Guardian [UK], Published on: 21 October 2006
Kenya's second largest river [Ngiro] is a life-sustaining resource for these [small] farmers, but it also sustains big business for flower farms supplying UK supermarkets. British and European-owned flower companies grow vast quantities of blooms and vegetables for export and last week the official Kenyan water authority, regional bodies, human rights and development groups as well as small-scale farmers accused flower companies near Mount Kenya of "stealing" water which would normally fill the river. According to the head of the water authority, the 12 largest flower firms which farm hundreds of hectares of flowers, fruit and vegetables in the region and supply supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury's and M&S [Marks & Spencer] and the European market, may be taking as much as 25% of water normally available to more than 100,000 small farmers... Yesterday...the largest horticulture company, British-owned Homegrown (part of Flamingo Holdings),...accused other companies of taking water illegally.