Interviews with the stakeholders, farm visits and interviews contributed to depict the situation around Kenyan flower farms and their impact of Kenya’s development. However there are some limitations that should be kept in mind when analysing our results.
Due to time constraints, in fact, we were not able to extend our sample of interviews and visits which means that the visited farms have a positive bias as we contacted them through the KFC and would have high social and environmental standards in the first place. As can be seen in Table one, 5 out of 12 visited farms have FLO accreditation, which is considered the accreditation with the highest standards, but the percentage of FLO farms to the overall number of farms is actually only a small percentage. Furthermore, environmental questions in the questionnaires served the purpose of certifying information from past studies.
Similarly, the sample of interviewed workers was selected by our contact in the Trade Union, which may lead to negative bias, considering that they may have approached the Trade Union due to the encounter of particular rather than general issues. The advantages however outweighed these concerns. Firstly, we had no direct contacts of workers willing to be interviewed, and, had we found them, it would have been unlikely that the workers would have responded positively for fear of their employers finding out. Secondly interviewing workers on the farm, which several managers offered us, would have faced the possibility of a similar bias towards more satisfied workers.
Information collected from individual interviews was primarily qualitative in comparison to the questionnaires, but provided an entry point to the Kenya flower industry and further contacts, as well as some invaluable insights (detailed in the results section).
We decided on the three approaches outlined above for two reasons. Many of the articles and research on the flower industry had focused solely on a few interviews with people of similar (and usually negative) views of the industry. Our aim was to encompass a wide spectrum of viewpoints, from farm owners as well as farm workers, in order for the project to be as neutral as possible. Secondly the questionnaire approach allowed us to collect quantitative data that could be used for data analysis and comparison. For this reason we visited as many farms and interviewed as many workers as we could given the time constraint. Unfortunately this approach left little time to directly research the environmental effect of the flower industry. However since this would have required specialised knowledge and equipment on our part, it was impractical from the start.