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Ethiopia - Flower companies plea for help to cope with slowdown
By Elias Meseret
After seeing prices decrease on the world market in the past couple of months, Ethiopian flower growers and exporters are demanding cost adjustment and bank loan rescheduling to help them cope with the current economic slowdown.
Tsegaye Abebe, President of the Ethiopian Horticulture Producers and Exporters Association (EHPEA), said this needs to be done so as to deal with the 'elephant in the room' that is already affecting the sector globally.
"Due to the crisis, Ethiopian flower exporters are already feeling the pinch of very low market prices," he said as the third edition of 'Hortiflora Ethiopia' was officially opened last Wednesday at the Millennium Hall at an event attended by high government officials and the business community.
Tsegaye called on all airlines, seed breeders, fertilizer companies, agro-chemical firms, packing material businesses, and other input suppliers, transporters, auction and unpacking agents, and all those who are engaged in this sector and are dependent on its success, to reduce their costs dramatically in line with the current situation.
However, a senior official of Ethiopian told Capital after this appeal from flower exporters that the national carrier had already made price adjustments already and do not make any new adjustments in the near future.
Figures show that most airlines currently charge on average 1.85 dollars for a kilo of goods to be transported to different parts of the world. In line with this, cargo and passenger aircraft departing from Addis Ababa are currently transporting from 1,300 to 1,500 tonnes of flowers, fruits and vegetables per week.
"I would also like to call on banks that are working with the sector to reschedule all loans and cut down interest rates. We believe the sector is important for our economy and hence need the support of all of them," he reiterated in his opening speech, while it is to be recalled the National Bank of Ethiopia is introducing a credit contraction scheme with the commercial banks.
In an exclusive interview with Capital last week, Tsegaye had said that Ethiopian flowers have witnessed a 15 to 20 per cent price reduction in the past few months.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi confirmed the government's commitment for the sector's future growth and support to deal with the current problem in a sustainable manner: "The government is ready to support you through thick and thin. But all the sub- sectors involved in this sector should also work together to deal with the current problem," he said.
This year's exhibition, which is held every two years to facilitate business interaction for participants and promote Ethiopia, has attracted more than 130 companies from over 25 countries. Spanish and Dutch companies have been the leading exhibitors while newcomers, like Chinese greenhouse giant Kingpeng, also attended this year's event.
The Ethiopian Horticulture and Floriculture Industry is developing at a fast pace and it is expected to place itself on the world map within three to five years as one of the leading exporters of cut flowers.
According to the latest figures, the demand for greenhouses is now growing at about 50 hectares per month and this is accelerating the need for air freight capacity.
The Ethiopian government is also putting a lot of emphasis on the development of the sector and it is expected that cut flower production will mark its first completed 1,000 hectares by the end of this year.
"The Expo will not only serve as a platform for exhibiting suppliers who want to meet Ethiopian growers, but also for exhibiting Ethiopian growers who want to meet international flower buyers. For this reason, farm tours will be organized during the week of the exhibition," Tsegaye told Capital after making his opening speech last Wednesday.
Exhibiting companies are required to pay 200 Euros for registration, 270 Euro per square metre for the area and 370 Euros for floor space and stand construction.
In the first nine months of last year, 2.7 billion roses were imported to Holland from all over the world. This is a seven per cent increase compared to 2007. Most of the roses came from Africa, in particular from Ethiopia and Kenya.
However, in the period between 2006 and 2008, Holland had faced a 25 per cent decrease in rose growers, according to the publications of the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics.
Ethiopia's struggling flower farms appeal for help (Reuters)
Flower giant shifts gear and rents aircraft from Ethiopian
Ten flower farms receive warnings
Ethiopia says recession hits Dutch flower sales
Global crisis drives down Ethiopia flower earnings
Ethiopia seen doubling '08 flower export income
Why bail out only flower business?
So far, They are the only one who benefited the most!
These projects are nothing for Ethiopian people.Just to collect Dollar for woyane bandas and enviromental crises as well as poverty.Farmers lost there land for nothing.Farming is gone for good.Greedy looters do not care about that.Oh God please make this project zero so that our fertile land can produce vegitables again.Thanks God!!!!
Now comes the truth. Before few months, it was said that flower industry will not be affected as we are producing “organic” flowers. No where in the planet producing cut flowers without inorganic inputs. The one who commented the above was ignorant buisness man who was not able to distinguish between politics and real buisness. Now crying for help. What I argue is the sector doesn’t benefit the nation by any means from economical, social and environmental point of view
Listen weyanawoch and get it right please “Flower” for the rich, “Food” for the poor!
“In the first nine months of last year, 2.7 billion roses were imported to Holland from all over the world. This is a seven per cent increase compared to 2007. Most of the roses came from Africa, in particular from Ethiopia and Kenya.”
Ayi Black man.
Why don’t you act as a human being of your time? The Ethiopian landscape and weather is the ideal place to produce variety of exotic flowers with low cost and high quality. Flowers grown between 1700-2600 above sea level are the best. Because of she is on the equator, Ethiopia is the only country that has this kind of landscape and environment followed from far distance by Ecuador and with some plots of land, Kenya.
To produce any green house product in Europe (Holland) costs at least 12 times what is in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, they are paying less than one Euro per hour. In Holland they have to pay at least 12 per hour. In Ethiopia they are not paying for energy, water, environment and the likes that are too high. Instead they are destroying the environment with chemicals.
The funny thing is the Ethiopian govt attitude towards all this. Holland is exporting all Ethiopian flowers first to Holland and then to Russia, Germany, USA, Japan, Middle East and all over the world pretending they are producing by themselves.
Why the Ethiopian govt is not directly selling its products to consumers as they are doing with coffee. Go and find your market by yourself rather than being used by middleman that has no interest on you at all but using you and your resources almost for free while affecting the environment.
Sell your green house products directly to Russia, the Middle East, Asia, USA and the likes. Be a human being who knows better for himself.
As far as the flower farming, it has to stop and replaced by fruit and vegetable production. It is a risky and uncertain development activity. Every one in the world can eat fruits and vegetables while very few are using flowers for pleasure occasionally.
So, the Ethiopian govt has to give support to those flower farmers who are abandoning the flower business and making new starts to produce vegetables and fruits including for domestic consumption. Middle East is exporting huge amount of vegetables and fruits from far away while the Ethiopian climate is the best place to produce many varieties including for them too.
Again, Stop selling your products through middlemen in this case through Holland. Go and talk with Russia, china, Japan and the likes to trade directly with them. When you do that, 90% the money you are losing to the middlemen will be your people benefit. Be smart. It is the 21-century not the slavery and colonialism era when black man was not classified as a human being but a thing associating with countless bad names and has suffered a lot for hundreds years. Don’t make the situation available to continue that kind of attitude towards the blacks and Africa.
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