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Tuesday, 05 April 2011 14:11

Flower Growers Expand Market Amid Fading Global Demand

By Mahlet Mesfin

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 4, 2011 (Addis Fortune) - Dagmawit Tsegaye and her friend Mesay Tifru are both 26 and work for a tour operator. They attended the Horti-flora Ethiopia 2011 Horticultural Expo at Millennium Hall on March 24, 2011, to buy flowers for their office and respective homes.

 

The fourth international trade exhibition for the floriculture and horticulture sectors, which is conducted every two years, was organised by the Ethiopian Horticulture Producers and Exporters Association (EHPEA) and opened on March 23, in a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, MPs, and other high-ranking officials.

 

The 87 participating exhibitors filled the hall, occupying a total of 2,000sqm, with Ethiopian Airlines and the EHPEA occupying the largest booths of 54sqm each.

 

The hall was decorated with a plethora of brightly coloured flowers displayed in a variety of different styles, as well as fruits and vegetables.

 

The participants also hired a total of 50 temporary employees for the event, according to Tilaye Bekele, executive director of the EHPEA. All actors in the sector, including breeders, growers, transporters, investors, machinery manufacturers, and banks from different countries attended, according to Tilaye.

 

Flower growers and exporters from Holland, Japan, Italy, France, the Middle East, and local investors participated, but the Dutch had the largest contingent.

 

A total of 1,600ht of land is currently dedicated to flower and vegetable farming in Ethiopia, and the industry has created 50,000 jobs to date. The total number of horticulture producing and exporting enterprises in the country stands at around 120, of which 90 are members of the EHPEA, which was established in 2002 and comprises 91 farms.

 

Most of the farms are located in the vicinity of Addis Abeba and the Rift Valley area; including Holeta, Sendafa, Sululta, Sebeta, Bishoftu (Debre Zeit) and Ziway towns, which gives them greater access Bole International Airport. Sher Ethiopia is the largest commercial flower farm with a total of 500ht.

 

Tefera Derbew, minister of Agriculture, leans over to listen to the PM soft spoken inquiry.

 

Of the farms, 35 are located in Bishoftu, Ziway, Awash and Hawassa, while Sululta, Sendafa and Chefa each have only three farms.

 

Most of the farms produce flowers, of which roses are the most popular taking up 65pc of total production. Only 16 companies are engaged in growing vegetables, cuttings, fruits and herbs; of which 90pc are supported by loans from Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE).

 

Recently, six flower farms faced being foreclosed, the largest being Menagesha Flower Farm, located in Menagesha Town, 44km south of the capital. It is the last one to be sold and has been put up for auction by DBE three times already.

 

Ethiopia is a well-known producer of large and long stemmed roses in a wide range of colours and varieties.

 

Accordingly, the Millennium Hall was filled with roses in vibrant colours that made Dagmawit and her friend debate whether a light purple rose found in the tent of Sola Grow Plc was real or artificial. They were surprised to hear that it was real and grown on an Ethiopian farm.

 

The sector is one of the top five foreign exchange earners of the nation next to Khat, which totalled 0.6pc of the real GDP in the 2009/10 fiscal year.

 

Flowers are mainly exported to Germany, Russia, Japan, the UK, and the Middle East; but Holland takes the lead by importing 141 million dollars worth of flowers in 2009/10, according to research published by Access Capital.

 

However, the overall export performance of the sector is far below expectations in generating foreign currency.

 

Over the past six months, the collection of 156 million dollars from the export of flowers, fruits, and vegetables has been planned, but the sector collected only 91.3 million dollars, according to the latest six-month performance review of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA).

 

This underperformance is attributed to a lack of good management, quality control problems, and a lack of modern technology, the MoA report read.

 

The EHPEA agrees with the report to the extent that some comments about it were included in the welcoming speech made by Tsegaye Abeba, chairman of the association, at the official opening ceremony of the exhibition.

 

Environmental changes throughout the world hinder Ethiopian products from reaching the market, according to the chairman. The rising cost of capital goods, such as greenhouses and irrigation equipment; the unavailability of agricultural land for investors; and a lack of sea freight transport are on the list of problems cited by Tsegaye as the major contributing factors for not meeting the goal.

 

"The cost of using Ethiopian Airlines is expensive but it is the only transport available since Ethiopian Shipping Lines (ESL) does not have refrigerated sea transport for perishable goods," Tilaye told Fortune. "The airline charges between 130,000 dollars and 170,000 dollars for containers between 130 tonnes and 100 tonnes in one charter whether it weighs the exact tonnage or not."

 

Dagmawit and Mesay had other problems, as they could not find a single flower for sale.

 

"We heard on television that there would be local transactions, but maybe it was just promotional," Dagmawit mused while taking a rest with a cup of coffee as part of a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

 

"This is an exhibition and not a trade fair," Tilaye explained. "Its purpose is to create contacts between buyers and suppliers. What makes this exhibition different from the previous ones is that we invited buyers, especially from China and Russia, who are not traditionally part of our market."

 

The international decrease in demand is forcing flower growers to seek new markets, he said.

 

For this reason, an exhibitor from Sola Grow was very happy with the expo, for she gained new customers, she claimed.

 

"There were three investors from the UK and Ivory Coast who want to buy the seeds of certain types of flowers but wanted to see our company's cuttings farm, and we have scheduled a visit next week," the exhibitor told Addis Fortune. "It opened a lot of doors for the business since it is the place where we meet international customers. (END/2011)

 

 

Но я не "Кентерберийские головоломки"подозревал, что за нами гонится этот негодяй "Медленные челюсти демократии"со своими натасканными на людей собаками, и потому старался сбить погоню со следа.

Во-первых, от "Свой среди волков"него требовали информации обо всем странном и "Пока я боль чужую чувствую..."удивительном, независимо от того, имели ли "Малыш и Карлсон (+DVD)"эти необычные события отношение к сельскому хозяйству или нет.

А "Достижение целей: Пошаговая система"воспроизведение реальных предметов, по существу, даже не новость.

Шимп почувствовал, что "Российская контрреволюция в 1917-1918 гг. В 2-х томах"его обложили со всех сторон, и готов был принять неизбежное, "Десерты"когда увидел свободный путь к отступлению.

Тогда-то Фурцев и "Путин, в которого мы верили"прослышал про то, что стратегию государства направляет старик-фельдмаршал, известный еще со времен революции.

Они "Популярный англо-русский и русско-английский словарь. Транскрипция и транслитерация"разумны, они вообще не проявляют никаких признаков злобности.

 
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