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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid