Efficiency and productivity improved after provision of nutritious food at Bellaflor Group

Afriflower plc is an Ecuadorian flower farm located at Holeta, engaged in the production and export of high quality cut roses and a variety of summer flowers.

Afri-flower has been working closely with employees and community, through implementation of good agricultural practice and engaged in various community support projects. Among those, provision of nutritious food for their employees is one and vital.

Provision of lunch was previously launched voluntarily by the farm management which shows and improved productivity and efficiency of the employees. It also benefited the farm towards  retention rate of employees which significantly reduced turnover has also been achieved as well as better image of the farm among the local community.

However, the inflation of raw materials is pooling the farm backwards time to time therefore, the farm management recommended to start a way of facilitation for the supply of raw materials/ration with subsidized cost.

Striving for better Agro-logistics

The Ethiopian horticulture sector shows a tremendous rise with in short period of time, contributing to more than 10% of the national foreign currency earning and created over 200,000 jobs, out of which 85% are women.

In order to further the sector achievement the Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) in partnership with Addis Ababa University College of Business and Economics School of Commerce has organized a Research Conference on Agro-Logistics in Ethiopia.

Currently, agriculture accounts for 60% of all export and for more than 80% of total employment in Ethiopia. Efficient and smart agro-logistics is a key enabler for the success of agricultural supply chains especially for perishable sectors. It also plays quite a vital role for the competitiveness of agricultural sectors locally and internationally by ensuring quality, delivery reliability and punctuality.

On the conference Mr. Tewodros Zewdie, Executive director of EHPEA stated on his speech that despite the competitive and comparative advantage for production and export of fruit and vegetables, the high costs of logistics particularly the costs of reefer containers hamper Ethiopia’s untapped potential to benefit from the main consumer markets. As there is no enough reefer container in the country farms are expected to pay for the empty container movement from Djibouti to their farm gat and from their farm gat to Djibouti. This calls for crafting sustainable solution so as to unlock the massive opportunities for the production and export of fruit and vegetables.

He also added urging the government to take proactive measures on creating better doing business climate for all the actors of agro-logistics including incentives for those who wants to invest on the sector , investing on necessary systems and infrastructures of agro-logistics, to help in slashing the inflated costs of reefer containers by taking out the empty leg of reefer container movement from Djibouti, availing finance for the private sector operators so that they build their capacity in specialized logistics services and anchoring productive platforms for proactive and structured engagement of the private sector, academic and research institutions and the government at large.

Transport Minister Mrs. Dagmawit Moges, on her keynote speech said “Taking into account that the horticulture sector is one of the anticipated development of Ethiopia, it attracts the government due emphasis. To address the challenges of logistics; the council of Minsters ratified the national logistics strategy that has been prepared by Ministry of Transport. In addition to this logistic sector have been open to both foreign and domestic investors so as to create enabling environment, effectiveness and efficiency in the sector. To further boost up the horticulture sector and other semi-processing food manufacturers; the cool chain feasibility study has been ongoing which is believed to transform the perishable logistics chain of transport.”

On the conference, policy makers, high ranking government officials, logistic service providers, academicians, cargo owners, forwarders, financial institutions, and other pertinent stakeholders attended and discussed on the research paper presented.

Dümmen Orange launches new phalaenopsis label ‘Popcorn’

Dümmen Orange launched a new orchid label for its special small-flowered phalaenopsis: Popcorn ‘Pops up your room’. The sector first became acquainted with this new label during the open days. These Popcorn orchids are available in many colours ranging from white and yellow to light and dark pink. Their unique characteristic is their profusion of flowers that are also smaller than those of similar phalaenopsis varieties.

With Popcorn, Dümmen Orange is introducing a new label for small-flowered phalaenopsis. This orchid’s flowers ‘pop’, just like real popcorn pops open. Hence the slogan: ‘pops up your room’. Each plant bears 50 (!) flowers less than 4 cm in diameter. This makes the total impression slightly different to the usual phalaenopsis varieties. Another plus: the Popcorn assortment provides a wide range of colours, from white and yellow to light and dark pink. This label promises to turn any house into a home because it matches perfectly with any interior style, be it retro, industrial, rustic or designer.

The market for large-flowered orchids is becoming saturated. Dümmen Orange realises that its customers – the growers – need to be provided with a distinctive package of products, and the Popcorn label is helping to do just that. Research has shown that a growing percentage of European consumers respond easily to trends: they are looking for a special look, personal expression and originality. New applications and ideas that express a lifestyle are the ones these consumers appreciate most. Aimed at millennials as end consumers, the new Popcorn label’s fresh and original look is just what they want. The FlowerTrials® marked the launch of the Popcorn campaign, which will continue to inform Dutch growers about this label both on and offline.

Dümmen Orange is the world’s largest breeder and propagator of cut flowers, bulbs, tropical plants, pot plants, bedding plants and perennials. Its annual turnover is about €350 m. The company employs over 7,300 people worldwide. In addition to a large marketing and sales network, Dümmen Orange has a diversified network of specialised production sites. The key to Dümmen Orange’s success is a broad and deep product range, supported by a global supply chain. The company embraces its social responsibilities and invests in the health, safety and personal development of its staff.

Preparing to grow bananas in Tajikistan greenhouses

Members of the “Dustobod 2” farm in the Spitamen district of the Republic of Tajikistan intend to build four innovative hectares of hydroponics on 4 hectares by 2021. There, they plan to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and bananas.

The construction of the first greenhouse is already underway on an area of ​​1 hectare. The growers intend to plant from 25,000 to 30,000 tomato seedlings in it in autumn, to get the first harvest in December of the current year, hopefully amounting to some of 100-120 tons. They expect to receive the second harvest in March-April. Thus, this hydroponic greenhouse, which will have autonomous heating and drip irrigation, according to farmers, should give about 220-240 tons of tomatoes.

The commissioning of two other greenhouses, intended for the cultivation of cucumbers and bell peppers, is scheduled for 2020.

The fourth greenhouse will be erected and put into operation in 2021, the Farmers have already decided that they will grow bananas in it. To this end, they are studying the technology of growing these fruits in greenhouse conditions. Farmers plan to plant about 1000 banana saplings on one hectare of greenhouse farming and in the coming years to receive about 45-50 tons of this production, which is still imported by the republic.

Farms Collaborated for Community Awareness Creation

Horticulture farms in Koka cluster teamed up to host an “Open Green House Day” initiated and organized by Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association held on July 2nd 2019. The event aimed to enhance the awareness of the surrounding community towards their perception of farms operation in the green house.

Accommodating various stakeholders including local government representatives, community leaders, community youths and elders; the program opened by the blessing of the region Abba Gadaa’s blessing and prayers at Syngenta farm.

On the opening Mr. Tewodros Zewdie, EHPEA Executive Director; stated that the Association organized this event taking into account that the achieved success of the horticulture sector is because of the hard work of the employees who came from the community mentioning that currently the country is on the 5th level of flower export in the world.  The horticulture sector created job opportunity for over 200,000 people and one of the top foreign currency earner in the country; he added.

East Shoa Zone Investment Officer Mr. Million Asfaw said on his speech; such kind of events creates belongingness with in the community and narrow the gaps of understanding. He convey his message to the community leaders that they have to work with the farms hand to hand to boost the Koka cluster investment. And lastly, he passes his appreciation to the event organizers that this kind of programs should be encouraged and adapted to other clusters as well.

Lastly, the visitors have seen the standard and wetland construction for the waste water treatment of the farms effluents, treatment and provision of refined potable water the community and for its employees and the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technology specially their use of biological agents in a wide range.

After the visit the participants reflected their feedbacks how they are enlightened by what they observe on obtaining good agricultural practices. They also appreciated the practices that the farms are following especially on the better employee management, appropriate environment protection and regarding discharging its responsibility towards the local community.

The Koka cluster farms are also known for their great corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) works to the community; building elementary and high schools, yearly school material donation for the students, establishment of a support center for orphanages and vulnerable children, electric power supply installation, building residential houses for internally displaced people and providing safe drinking water.

Al-Amoudi funding bio-pesticide research to curtail application of synthetics

Ethiopian-born tycoon Sheikh Mohammed Al-Amoudi, the 2nd richest business person in Africa next to Aliko Dangote, is funding the bio-pesticide research conducted on Phytolacca dodecandra L’Herit, a sprawling woody climber plant.

 Sheikh Mohammed, who also owns a gigantic agricultural farm – Ethio Agri-CEFT PLC – in Ethiopia, has so far invested over 5 million Ethiopian Birr (close to USD 170,000) for the research effort and to develop it on 50 hectares as a commercial plant over the last ten years aiming at curtailing application of synthetic pesticides or chemicals.

Consequently, flower farms in that country are replacing synthetic pesticides with the trailing shrub – Phytolacca dodecandra L’Herit – as researches confirm the fungicidal and larvicidal properties of the plant, says Mr. Esayas Kebede, General Manager of the commercial farm.

Researchers working for Ethio Agri-CEFT, one of the largest commercial farms in Ethiopia, have been conducting the bio-pesticide plant’s field trials as a fungicidal agent on two flower farms in Holeta and Bahir Dar towns and proved that Phytolacca dodecandra (locally called ‘Endod’) could be an “alternative to manufactured pesticides.”

Adane Wolde-Yohannes, Ethio Agri-CEFT Deputy General Manager for Agriculture and Agro-Industry stated: “These promising results mean that the plant can have widespread use in both domestic and industrial settings.  The trials at our Holeta and Bahir Dar flower  farms were  so  successful  that  we  were  able  to  reduce  the  use of manufactured pesticides.”

“Ethio Agri- CEFT has been conducting observational studies on the ‘Endod’ plant for more than ten years.  The data collected from these studies indicates that the plant has fungicidal, larvicidal and molluscicidal properties,” Adane Wolde-Yohannes indicated.

Debrezeit Cluster Farms Join Hands to Execute Joint CSR Project

A business gathering was held in January 27, 2019 at Pyramid Hotels and Resorts, Debrezeit with the intention of having a cluster based joint corporate social responsibility projects in Debrezeit Cluster Farms at P. The CSR projects will be executed principally by the commercial farms in partnership with Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) and the responsible public partner from Oromia regional state; Oromia Investment Commission.  Community demand driven interventions will be the main focus which could directly contribute to the enhancement of livelihoods  of the surrounding communities and contribute to the image building in that respective cluster. As a result of the gathering, a CSR joint committee for the cluster was formed.  The Committee will be responsible in the identification, selection and implementation of the projects and will have thorough participatory assessment on the culture and need of the community and will have a commendation based on the outcomes.

Debrezeit Cluster farms are a business oriented private organizations engaged in the production and export of Cut roses, Fruit and Vegetable and Herbs to the international market. The companies strives to create safe and healthy working environment for their employees and committed to contribute for improving the living standard and health and wellbeing of their employees and their surrounding communities. In line with this, the companies create public private partnership among the farms, EHPEA and Oromia Investment Commission to initiate joint CSR projects through procedural and financial contribution with active participation of the target community.

Herburg Applause by Ziway Community

One of Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association member farm, Herburg Roses PLC celebrated its 13th anniversary of operating in Ethiopia since 2006G.C. Herburg is a Netherland origin company operating on flower business for over 40 years.  With its excellent experience in growing roses it opened the first nursery out of Holland in Ziway, Ethiopia located about 163 km east from the capital.

Currently, Herburg Roses has 40 hectares of greenhouse rose production exporting to UK market about 2million stems on weekly bases.

On this colourful celebration of anniversary, representative of Batu City Administration Mayor Mr. Tula stated that the horticulture sector created a huge job opportunity for the community and foreign currency earning to the country. He also urged on his speech; that his administration, pertinent stakeholders and community leaders shall support the sector development.

Mr. Huub van der Burg, owner and managing director of Herburg Roses, received the highest traditional gift from the community leaders (Aba Gedaa) for their contribution on supplying drinking water in collaboration with its neighbouring companies AQ Rose, Braam Flowers and Ziway Roses PLC for Desta Abijata and Ouda Ashura farmers union.

Derba Flower and Mullo Farm join hands with Midroc Ethiopia to install a new borehole for Derba village

Derba Flowers and Mullo Farm are located next to Derba village at 70 km drive north west from Addis Ababa. With over 350 hectares of land, only 45 hectares are used for floriculture and the other 85% is managed as nature reserve. Both companies are involved in the production of high quality Hypericum Coco- and Veronica Pico flowers which are exported to a large number of customers all over the world.

Besides the conservation of nature, the farms strive to have a good balance between flower production and community engagement. These efforts have enabled the farms to be the first in the Ethiopian flower sector to become certified with Rainforest Alliance. The organization decided to go for the unusual choice of Rainforest Alliance, next to Code of Practice Silver level, because most of the USA based customers intend to comply with this specific standard.

In addition, Derba Flowers and Mullo Farm have recently joined hands with Midroc (a local cement factory) to provide the neighbouring area of the farms with a new borehole. The old borehole was broken due to an unfortunate event and the companies sat around the table with the community to find a solution to resolve the issue. In the end both companies agreed for Midroc to take up the installation work and for Derba Flowers and Mullo Farm to make sure all required material, such as piping, electricity and a pump will be donated.

Meanwhile, leading up to finalizing the installation of the new borehole, Derba Flowers has been giving trucks of water to the community to make sure people continued to have access to clean drinking water. This project has improved the well-being of the people in Derba village and helped to strengthen the relationship of the farms with the community.

Global foreign direct investment is down, but not in Africa

For the third year in a row, foreign direct investment (FDI) is down all over the world, but not in Africa.

Global money is banking on African growth, reduced barriers to cross-border trade and affordable access to commodities.

From 2017 to 2018, global FDI fell from $1.5 trillion to $1.3 trillion, according to an analysis by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The conference released its 2019 World Investment Report this week, showing that global FDI not only hit its lowest level since the global financial crisis, but has also been on the decline for three consecutive years.

One region defied this trend: Africa. In 2018, roughly $46bn worth of FDI flowed into Africa, an 11 percent increase compared to 2017. This is significant for the continent because when a company or an individual makes an FDI, they are said to be establishing a long-term business interest in a foreign country. The expectation is that they will not only invest money, but also time, and soft assets (i.e. technology, expertise  and training).

Why Africa?

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) was signed into law in May and allows 52 African countries to buy and sell goods without tariffs, which will make them less expensive and therefore more appealing to African consumers. “The AfCFTA agreement will bolster regional cooperation,” Mukhisa Kituyi, secretary-general of UNCTAD said. “Along with upbeat growth prospects, this bodes well for FDI flows to the continent.”

Commodities are the other big draw for global investors. According to UNCTAD, global money is now investing in African commodities such as gold in order to profit from expected price increases.

Sources of capital

In 2017, France was the top foreign investor in Africa, followed by the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Critically, UNCTAD’s data shows that from 2013 to 2017, Chinese FDI in Africa grew 65 percent, only topped by the Netherlands, for which FDI was up more than 200 percent.

Different regions, different investments

Not all 55 countries on the continent benefited equally from FDI in 2018.

Investments in northern Africa jumped seven percent, or $14bn from the previous year. This increase in FDI helped to offset less investment in Egypt, which was down eight percent.

Despite the decline in FDI for Egypt, UNCTAD data shows that the country was still the largest recipient of FDI continent-wide.

Ethiopia brought in $3.3bn worth of FDI and was the top destination in East Africa. Kenya, another East African country, received $1.6bn worth of FDI. These investments were mainly in manufacturing, hospitality, chemicals, and the oil and gas sector.

“Many East African nations have become more open to investment,” James Zhan, the director of UNCTAD’s Investment and Enterprise Division and the author of the report, told Al Jazeera. Mauritius, for example, is now more welcome to outside investment.”

Zhan says Mauritius, an island nation, has a new framework in place to attract outside investment.

“The [Mauritian] government is quite clear. They are shifting their priorities and have a strategy,” he said. “Now, they are continuing to build the island as a business hub and offering more business services to East African countries.”

Developed nations see a decline

A new tax law that went into effect in the US in 2018 has encouraged corporations to pull their cash out of other developed markets such as Western Europe, according to UNCTAD. This has led to a loss of $557bn or 25 percent of FDI, the lowest level in 15 years.

Despite ongoing trade tensions between the US and China, FDI is expected to recover this year in developed economies as the effects of the US tax law wear off.

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