Category: "Horticulture"

Ethiopia says recession hits Dutch flower sales

March 2nd, 2009
A woman harvests roses in a greenhouse at a flower farm in Ethiopia, February 12, 2008. REUTERS/Michael Tsegaye

Ethiopia says recession hits Dutch flower sales

) - Ethiopia says it is seeking new buyers for its fresh flowers because the global economic downturn is cutting sales in its main market, the Netherlands.

Tsegaye Abebe, head of the state-run Horticulture Development Association, told a news conference late on Saturday the Netherlands bought 65 percent of Ethiopia's flower exports.

"But the recession affecting the European country is also affecting our revenue," he said.

Abebe said Ethiopia was now only expecting to earn 60 percent of a projected $280 million from flower exports this year.

The Horn of Africa nation earned $177.6 million last year from the sale of some 1.5 billion stems, the government says.

Ethiopia is now trying to attract buyers in Dubai, Asia, Scandinavia, Russia and the United States to boost income, Tsegaye said.

Offering tax breaks to attract investment, Ethiopia hopes flower exports will overtake coffee and be worth $1 billion annually within five years. Flower farming employs about 60,000 people in the huge country, mostly women.

Neighbouring Kenya earned about $1 billion from horticulture in 2007. Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda are also developing their fresh flower export industries.

Global crisis drives down Ethiopia flower earnings

February 10th, 2009

Global crisis drives down Ethiopia flower earnings

Tue Feb 10, 2009

By Tsegaye Tadesse

) - Income from Ethiopian flower exports has reached only 60 percent of a targeted $298 million over the last 18 months as the global recession hits the sector, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

The Horn of Africa nation earned $177.6 million during the period from the sale of some 1.5 billion stems, Girma Gelelcha, an expert in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, told Reuters.

"Unless the global financial situation shows some improvement, it may also be difficult for Ethiopia to earn the targeted $207 million ... in (calendar year) 2009," he said.

Ethiopian horticulture officials expressed fears at the end of last year that the worldwide economic crisis could hit their industry as European consumers cut back on luxury purchases.

On Tuesday, a source at the state-owned Development Bank of Ethiopia said two Israeli-owned flower farms had been put up for auction in recent weeks after failing to service bank loans.

The source said three more farms were in a similar position and might be put up for sale soon.

The government has offered tax breaks to attract investment in flowers. More than 100 local and foreign firms have been drawn to the sector, and the country hopes exports will overtake coffee within five years to be worth $1 billion annually


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Ethiopia PM warns idle flower producers

January 24th, 2009

Ethiopia PM warns idle flower producers

By Hayal Alemayehu

The Reporter

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia on Wednesday issued a warning to flower exporters who failed to go operational in due time after securing land to produce what had become one of the country’s major foreign currency earner, it was learnt.

The extraordinary meeting, which took place at the prime minister’s office, came on the heels of a falling flower and coffee export and was convened to discuss the challenges facing the growing flower export sector, according to sources who attended the discussion.

The prime minister said that there are flower producers and exporters who have failed to commence operation and left the land they had secured to produce flowers idle while many others were awaiting to receive land for the same purpose, according to sources.

The prime minister alluded that the government's next step will be to take measures against flower producers who leave the land they secured idle, the sources added.

Representatives of the floricultural association on their part explained to the prime minister the challenges which they said are impeding the booming horticultural sector. Accordingly, they requested for a faster VAT refund scheme, a longer repatriation period (for securing and bringing into the country the foreign currency they earn from the export of flowers) and a lower cargo tariff for their export, which is entirely dependant on air cargo shipment. The representatives have also asked for a longer loan servicing period.

The prime minister promised that the government will keep providing support to the sector while urging the flower exporters to strengthen their performance and avoid failures such as keeping potential farmlands idle, according to sources.

There are currently about 86 flower producers and exporters operating in the country about fifty-five percent of whom are foreigners. The flower sector earned generated USD 135 million in 2008.

The meeting was attended by ministers, the presidents of the Amhara and Oromia regions, top officials of the Ethiopian Airlines, Revenues and Customs Authority, the National Bank of Ethiopia and other financial institutions as well as other stakeholders.

The prime minister on the same day also convened a meeting with coffee exporters, which deliberated on streamlining the traditional coffee auctioning processes through the recently established Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), among other issues.

The “unprecedented” falling coffee export over the last couple of years, mainly attributable to a delayed harvest, prompted the extraordinary meeting, according to sources.

The government has an ambitious USD 2.5 billion export revenue forecast for the current Ethiopian fiscal year, although the export performance over the last several years indicate the target may not be attainable.

Ethiopia exports Strawberry to European market

December 11th, 2008
Strawberry farm in Ethiopia

Ethiopia exports Strawberry to European market

The following is an article published by USAID on one of the top 10 success stories, it was first published in June 2008

The Ethiopian horticulture industry is mounting several initiatives on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) with support from USAID-ATEP. The Code of Practice developed by the Ethiopian Horticulture Producers and Exporters Association (EHPEA) provides comprehensive standards related to production, the environment, and worker safety, including the safe use of agrochemicals. The registration of biocontrol organisms in Ethiopia is also in early stages of development, with EHPEA and the Ambo Research Center coordinating trials of biocontrols on roses that were sponsored by Koppert and Bio-Bee.

USAID-ATEP is also supporting the application of biocontrols to crop production. One of the project’s lead horticulture clients, Ilan Tot Farm, based in Koka, Oromia Region, was established in 2005 by Ilan Eliyahu to produce strawberries for export to Europe and the Middle East. The company’s 2006 season was plagued with spider mites, dramatically reducing productivity and quality. The main reasons for the severity of the outbreak were the dusty conditions and the limited availability of expensive miticides.

An IPM trial with the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis was started at the farm in October 2007 with support from USAID-ATEP. This predator feeds exclusively on the red spider mite that attacks strawberry leaves. With support from the Ambo Research Center, the bio-control material was imported by RSL, Ethiopian distributors of products from Bio-Bee Ltd., an Israeli company specializing in biocontrol agents.

Zewdinesh Tadessie, Ilan Tot’s plant protection supervisor, is responsible for monitoring the trial on a weekly basis. The farm integrates the use of the Phytoseiulus biocontrol with miticide spot treatment only when the ratio of spider mite to predators surpasses 10:1.

“The unavailability of predators in the country was one worry for us. Also, we were worried about altitude and humidity, but so far we have seen encouraging results,” Zewdinesh said.

The trials showed that P. persimilis maintained a steady presence throughout the growing period, keeping spider mite populations under control. Bio-Bee concludes in its report that satisfactory control of spider mite was achieved mainly through the biological control agents, and with very little chemical use.

Ilan notes that, compared to his previous season, pesticide use for spider mite control was reduced by almost 50 percent, translating into savings of around $2,500 per hectare.

“It is cheaper to use predators than to apply pesticides,” he said.
Thanks to the success of the trial, Ilan will expand his use of P. persimilis to the rest of the farm and evaluate other biocontrol applications for aphids and thrips.

“There are opportunities for Ethiopian strawberries in the European market, as we can produce quality fruit with good shelf-life, and now with fewer pesticides,” Ilan said.

Ethiopian fruit has UK success

December 11th, 2008
Strawberry farm in Ethiopia

Ethiopian fruit has UK success

Source: Fresh Info

The “excellent facilities in Ethiopia” are proving successful as the country achieved its first fruit sales in UK supermarkets earlier this year, according to a study.

Strawberries from Ethiopia were on the shelves of Morrisons earlier this year and performed well in independent comparison trials carried out by the Writtle Postharvest Unit, which is part of Writtle College.

The strawberries were of the Yuval variety and this was thought to be the first time that Ethiopian fruit was sold in the UK by one of the leading supermarkets.

The fruit was grown by the Ilan Tot strawberry farm just outside Addis Ababa and this was their first season of full production for the export market. The farm received some assistance from the Agribusiness and Trade Expansion Program in Ethiopia, in particular with integrated pest management work to reduce any agrochemical inputs to the very minimum.

Senior soft-fruit buyer for Morrisons Michael Jackson, said: “We are pleased with the quality of the strawberries and the excellent facilities in Ethiopia.”

The strawberries were evaluated for appearance, weight loss, disease, occurrence of condensation and shape, from the day of purchase until a day after the “best before date” and then assessed for firmness and brix.

Dr Chris Bishop of the Writtle Postharvest Unit said: “The results from the Ethiopian strawberries were very similar or better than those purchased at other supermarkets.”