News / Africa

Ethiopian Flower Exporters Cash In on Valentine's Day

A woman harvests roses in a greenhouse at the ET Highland Flora flower farm, just outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopian, February 2008.A woman harvests roses in a greenhouse at the ET Highland Flora flower farm, just outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopian, February 2008.
x
A woman harvests roses in a greenhouse at the ET Highland Flora flower farm, just outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopian, February 2008.
A woman harvests roses in a greenhouse at the ET Highland Flora flower farm, just outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopian, February 2008.
Ethiopia’s flower exporters are cashing in on Valentine’s Day, as the industry blooms.
 
Many of the roses that lovers give each other on Valentine’s Day happen to be grown in Ethiopia. In the last decade, the industry has grown from nothing to one of the dominant players on the international market.

Zelalem Messele, an Ethiopian flower grower and chairman of EHPEA, the Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association, said Valentine's Day is very important for the country's flower sector.

“It’s one of the holidays the flower industry flourishes. And the production goes up by 30 to 40 percent and so the demand,” said Messele.

About 85 percent of Ethiopia’s flowers are exported to Europe. Flower exports in 2012 were valued at more than $210 million. This year, the amount is expected to be more than double, at $525 million.

Industry growth and government-provided tax breaks and loans have attracted many foreigners here to set up flower farms in Ethiopia. Of the 90 flower producers in the country, more than half are non-Ethiopians - many of them Dutch.

AQ Roses, a 40-hectare flower farm, 180 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa, employs 1,250 people. It is run by a Dutch family who came to Ethiopia in 2005. General Manager Frank Ammerlaan said there were multiple reasons for coming to Ethiopia.

“We were much more attracted by the whole atmosphere in Ethiopia. There’s a lot of sunshine. The temperatures are moderate. It’s not too hot, not too cold. That’s why we are able to produce good flowers,” said Ammerlaan.

New jobs

About 1,500 hectares in Ethiopia are used to produce flowers. The fast-growing industry has directly created about 85,000 jobs and roughly 110,000 jobs indirectly. Women take up 80 percent of these jobs.

ZK Flowers is a flower farm 50 kilometers south of Addis Ababa. There are only a few men to be spotted on the eight-hectare flower fields, as women occupy all jobs from cleaning to production management.

Birke Gormis works six days per week in the fields of ZK Flowers. She said the industry has improved her life and that of her family. She said that since she is employed, she is not dependent on her husband when she wants to buy items at the market.

Kenya is currently Africa’s biggest flower exporter and Ethiopia is second. As Ethiopia aims to surpass Kenya in the coming years, it is focusing on penetrating the North American market.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: DAVID LULASA from: tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,v
February 15, 2013 4:42 AM
we just have to realise first of all that our world is so valueble even without making deals on its resources...there are many things which are just waiting to be valued after someone has started using it.and that shouldnt be the norm.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs