Avocado set to become Ethiopia’s major export

The joint program by USAID, MASHAV of Israel and the Ministry of Agriculture of Ethiopia has introduced over 2,000 farmers with an avocado variety – Hass – imported from Israeli. The program over the past four years has managed to export Hass from Ethiopia and find the results encouraging and worth expanding, according to Wale Getaneh, Deputy coordinator of the project. “The reason we focused on avocado over the last four years is because the international market for it is rapidly growing that Ethiopia has suitable weather for growing avocado,” Mr. Wale told He stated that after familiarizing a few thousands of smallholder farmers with the avocado variety imported from Israel and teaching them how they can grow, the project has been exporting Hass avocado to the Netherlands by collecting from the farmers.“We started by exporting two tons of avocado four years ago. After we get good feedbacks from the importers, we decided to increase the volume annually including many smallholder farmers into the project,” he says.

The following year the export volume has increased to eight tons and then exported 14 tons the next year. Wale says they have exported a kilogram of avocado for $3.6, $4 and $5.7, consecutively.“When we exported the 14 tons, we made a trial by exporting eight tons using vessel to see the feasibility of the business for the private sector in the future. But the trial was not easy because of the not much developed logistics sector of Ethiopia, which includes waiting long to freezing container. But the avocados we exported using the vessels finally reached Rotterdam on the 36th day. It was encouraging and the feedback from the client was also very good,” he says, advising the private sector to move into growing avocado for export market.

Avocado VS coffee 

Wale also suggests that the government should consider good incentives for investors who come to invest in avocado production and export. This is because it has a potential to generate huge hard currency for the country even more than what the country is currently getting from coffee export.

“If well invested in, avocado can take over coffee in a short time in terms generating hard currency for Ethiopia,” Wale says, indicating that Ethiopia should learn from successful horticulture development experiences of Israel and the Netherlands.

Comparing with coffee, he says that one can plant up 2,600 coffee seedlings per hectare with output of 10 to 12 quintals per hectare. But by planting 416 seedlings of avocado per hectare with up to 20 tons per hectare, Ethiopia can get more export earnings as compared to what it is getting from one hectare of coffee.

He states that in China the price for a kilogram of avocado may reach up to $17, while in California, which is also avocado growing area, a single avocado may be sold up to $2.

The global demand projection of avocado for the coming 20 years is estimated to continuously grow.

Launched in 2005, USAID-MASHAV-Ministry of Agriculture, has been working with smallholder farmers in Tigray, Amhara, South and Oromia regions showing the farmers how to grow Hass avocado variety for international market. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been taking care of the funding part, while the Israeli international development agency – MASHAV – has been dealing with the technical part of the project Ethiopia’s ministry of agriculture is the implementing agency.

Over the last four years the project has managed to increase the number of smallholder farmers who are growing Hass avocado to around 2,600. In the coming September the project expects to export up to 100 tons of Hass avocado collecting from these smallholder farmers.

From establishing modern avocado and other horticulture seedlings producing nurseries, to distributing them to smallholder farmers in the four regions, the project has been registering good results, according to Wale.

If it continuously gets water avocado seedling may start giving fruit after two years. But preparing the seedling can also take one year. Currently the three nurseries established by the project are supplying avocado seedlings to the smallholder farmers.

The nurseries have a total capacity of supplying 305,000 avocado seedlings. “At the moment we don’t have shortage of seedlings. We are only waiting for the private sector to come and invest,” Wale says.

In addition to the imported rough cover Hass avocado variety, currently there are about half a dozen local avocado varieties in Ethiopia

Tinaw endeavors to always be a socially and environmentally responsible grower

Tinaw Business Share Company (S.Co) is one of the prominent Ethiopian owned farm engaged in the production and export of cut roses to the international market since 2006. The farm located at the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Regional State (SNNPRS), Guraghe Zone, Ezha Sub-District , Zigba-Botto Village, which is 170 Km from Addis Ababa.

Currently, the Company produces different flower varieties for exports to The Netherlands and other countries having a certification of MPS-A, MPS-SQ and ETI  and gearing up toward a Gold certification from EHPEA.

Tinaw Business S.C is engaged on potable water project, committed to provide Safe drinking water to the local community around flower farm, which is expected to benefit more than 3,250 communities

EHPEA promotes the ample investment opportunities at IFTEX expo

The three-day expo brought together more than 180 national and international companies in the flower value chain, held in Nairobi, Kenya. IFTEX Expo Kenya is a great platform for interaction among Kenyan flower grower, international flower exporters and buyers.

EHPEA participated at this expo representing its member farms by displaying different varieties of members produce such as Roses, Carnation, Hypericum, Alstroemeria, Gypsophylia, Statics and Veronica in a 21msq pavilion. A B2B meetings with buyers, input suppliers, and investors conducted.

On the expo EHPEA promoted the ample investment opportunities of horticulture sector in Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya, Meles Alem, has also paid a visit to EHPEA’s stand.

Kenya’s flower exports projected to grow 20 pct in 2019

The value of Kenya’s flower exports is projected to grow 20 percent in 2019 as compared to 2018, the industry said on Wednesday.

Clement Tulezi, CEO Kenya Flower Council (KFC), told journalists in Nairobi that in 2018 export earnings from cut flowers hit approximately 113.2 billion Kenyan shillings (1.1 billion U.S. dollars), which was a 38 percent increase from the previous year.

“There is currently an oversupply of flowers in the international market but the earnings of the Kenya floriculture sector exports is still expected to expand by 20 percent in 2019,” Tulezi said during the opening ceremony of the eighth edition of the International Flower Trade Expo (IFTEX).

The three-day expo brought together more than 180 national and international companies in the flower value chain.

According to KFC, Kenya is the world’s fourth largest exporter of cut flowers and accounts for around 40 percent of all cut flower imports into the European Union.

Tulezi said that Kenya’s flower sector is keen to diversify its overseas markets and is looking forward to expanding into more markets including China, Japan, India, Australia, Canada, United States and Eastern Europe.

Tulezi added that Kenya is prioritizing sustainability in the flower industry in order to reduce the environmental impact of the sector’s production.


ET-Highland Flora PLC undertaking massive action on liquid waste treatment

ET-Highland Flora PLC said undertaking liquid waste water management properly is instrumental in reusing water and curbing environmental pollution. The company has been investing hugely in liquid and solid waste water management.

The liquid waste water management project being undertaken by the company has been hailed as exemplary by EHPEA staff members who visited the farm these past two weeks. It is also doing very well with regard to turning solid waste into compost. The farm has managed to fully develop twenty hectares of land.

Farm Manager Emebet Tesfaye said as flower farm takes huge water the company has given due attention to investing particularly in liquid waste water management. “We are relying on consultants’ advice and we are on the way to reuse treated water for irrigation purpose. Liquid waste treatment also helps us in carrying our social responsibility of developing the farm while protecting and conserving the environment.”

The Farm’s liquid waste treatment process encompasses sedimentation tank, primary holding tank, vertical flow bed, gravel bed hydroponics as well as six-layer ponds.
According to Company Production Department Head Urge Batu, the farm is currently growing 16 varieties of rose. In parallel, it is replacing old varieties with new ones in accordance with breeders and present market demands.

Urge indicated that the company is taking massive action towards enhancing productivity and maintaining quality of products through maintaining greenhouses sanitation.
The farm was established in 2005 and went fully operational in 2006.

Ethio Agri-ceft says endod instrumental in greenhouse sanitation

Ethio Agri-ceft/Agri Flower Holeta is one of the pioneers of horticulture investments in the country. It is well-known for its diverse rose varieties and a good track record of engaging in local communities developmental activities.

Last week, by the time EHPEA staff visited the farm, workers were busy preparing bissu – the most popular rose variety needed in Europe on the occasion of Mother’s Day celebration. To meet the insatiable demand for bissu on the event about 7,000 bunches (having ten stems in each bunch) were readied to be supplied to France and Poland market for the May 26th event.

Reliance on hydrogen peroxide is common in many farms to protect flowers from bacteria and fungus. Instead of mild chemicals Ethio Agri-Ceft Holeta has already specialized in using ‘endod’ — phytolacca dodecandra in lieu of aluminum sulphate and sodium hypochlorite – which are known to have residue and a distinctive smell respectively. However, endod has been proved to be environment friendly. Thus, Agri Flower Holeta sprays in greenhouse to protect flowers from infestation.

The company is garnering a lot from endod particularly in maintaining cleanliness of the compound. Through maintaining greenhouse sanitation, it is helping the farm in fighting unpleasant smell.

The company started operation 15 years ago. It has now 463 employees and managed to utilize 28.5 hectares of land set aside for it at inception. In terms of quality produce and price at market, now the company is among the best performers in the horticulture industry. It operates on 27 greenhouses having 0.45-2 hectares.

As regards corporate social responsibility Company Manager Leul Debas remarked: “We have been taking part in various developmental activities in Holeta city administration. Though we need additional 10 hectares of land for expansion in the short-term, we have the capacity to develop 25 hectares beyond the present undertaking.”

As part of CSR activities the company has so far constructed 4.4-kms of asphalt road and covered about 75% of community policing station built in the vicinity of the farm. Workers in the farm have smartly curved out wooden rooms to take rest, dine or refresh whenever they finish off their daily activities.

Compost boosting farm productivity

Ethio Agri-ceft/Agri Flower Holeta is one of the pioneers of horticulture investments in the country. It is well-known for its diverse rose varieties and a good track record of engaging in local communities developmental activities.
One of the strengths of the company lies in its efficient use of Compost—a decayed organic material used as a fertilizer for growing flowers. The company produces compost on its own in two methods known as conventional and vermi. In the conventional way the company’s trained workers produce compost by mixing greenhouse waste and molasses whereas in the latter method the company uses red worms bought from nearby research center to make organic soil from a blend of fruits.

Most of the inputs used in compost preparation are greenhouse waste and byproduct. Depending on local analysis compost is added to flowers in 3-6 months interval while fertilizer is applied every day. The company has three sites for compost preparation and it takes 6-8 weeks to get a fully decomposed organic material.

Compost is benefitting the farm in replenishing and enhancing soil fertility, increasing soil microbes and maintaining soil moisture. It is serving the purpose of reconditioning the soil continuously thereby protecting soil from depletion.

According to Farm Manager Leul Debas the company grows variety of roses such as Burgundy, Mario, Josie, Upper class, Bell rose, Antenna, Confidential, Deep purple, Bissu, Spana, and Revival, among others.

“Since our farm is in highland we do not face much insects infestation. Thus, we do not rely on class I chemicals. Most pesticides we apply are meant to control only fungus as opposed to lowland area where there is high infestation of insects.”

“We have got a lot of benefits since we started using compost. It enabled us to recycle waste product. We used to suffer from disposal of waste here and there. We started compost preparation to clean environment but eventually found it to be very crucial for fertilizer consumption, soil fertility and environment cleaning. On the whole, it enhances water holding capacity of soil and minimizes expense on fertilizer.”

At present the company is replacing old varieties of flowers which had been grown for over 7/8 years in the farm. It is also undertaking experimentation on various flowers in accordance with stakeholders and clients recommendations.

Ethio-Agri-ceft/ Agri Flower Holeta has fully utilized the land designated for it from the Holeta City Administration. It is cultivating some useful spices and herbs and nurturing bee farm on pieces of land not covered with greenhouse in the farm.

Marginpar Ethiopia undertaking extensive CSR activities

Marginpar Ethiopia PLC is a flower producing and exporting farm located near Holeta town in Welmera district. It currently grows and exports Eryngium, Astrantia and Crocosmia to Europe and the Far East.

Marginpar is participating in different CSR activities for meant to realize mutual growth. A good case in point is road construction spanning approximately 12-kms in two different locations of Choke kebele of Welmera through project community consulting, sharing gravel material, local resources and machinery, transportation and labor cost.

The kebele also come up with the idea support to build bridge on Welesu River in which the company bought culvert pipe, sand and gravel stone. At present the construction is underway and a wooden bridge is serving as a temporary solution.

Last year the company distributed 6,000 fast growing and indigenous trees to the community. For 40 households 5000lt pure drinking water supplied on two directions at Marginpar and it is taking action to support the nearby school in supplying drinking water.

Besides, the company covers Community-Based Health Insurance (CBHI) for 650 of its staff and 26 elderly from local community members providing them access to full health package for themselves and their family.

EHPEA member farms praised for meeting standards

At a half-day workshop organized by Enterprise Partners in collaboration with LOCAL FRUIT on Food Quality standards at Saphire Addis Hotel Friday May 17, 2019, it was indicated that among eight fruit and vegetable growers list, seven farms praised for fulfilling most of the food safety requirements are EHPEA members.

Some actors in the industry on food quality standards for safety, food processing companies, exporters of food items and membership associations were present at the workshop. The speaker, Marijke Elshof, has over 15 years of hands-on experience in the EU market on quality standards requirements and evolution. She made brief presentation on the international market quality standards based on EU-Market and in the context of her grasp with the existing quality standards in Ethiopia.

The presenter made brief explanation on the International Market Standards, Global Food Safety Initiative (, British Consortium, Global Standard for Food Safety, International Featured Standards, Food Safety System Certification (FSSC 22000), and International Organization for Standardization (ISO), etc.

She also described the steps and principles that should be followed to maintain the food safety and quality standard and acquired international certificates.

She highlighted that there are only eight exporting companies in Ethiopia who got international food safety standard certificate and suggested that more companies should be certified.  She finaly mentioned that her company would like to provide technical advice and ISO 22000: 2018 Standards and ISO 22002 1:2019 standard and checklist and additional requirement for FSSC 22000 and checklist for free.

The workshop touched upon related topics such as the requirements for Food Safety Certification 22000, Guidance on Food Defense, Guidance on Food Fraud Mitigation, Food Safety Management systems & requirements for any organization in the food chain as well as prerequisite programmes on food safety.

EHPEA staff members were among participants of the workshop.


Ministry of Agriculture and EHPEA member farms discuss draft regulation

Experts and executives drawn from the Ministry of Agriculture, EHPEA member farms and stakeholders on Tuesday deliberated on a document prepared to back the agriculture sector with quarantine regulation. The discussion was conducted as a follow up after the recent validation workshop held in Adama to further cascade the regulation in depth. The participants asked questions for clarity, raised valuable comments and suggestions meant to enrich the draft regulation developed by a team of experts commissioned/formed from EHPEA and the Ministry.

Reflecting on the draft regulation, EHPEA Board member who is also farm owner Ronald Vijverberg noted that the document is prepared in accordance with international standards in a way that could pave a way to develop a number of relevant directives expected to enhance the Ethiopian horticulture sectors competitiveness globally.

Ronald also indicated that the regulation needs to be finalized and approved in a way that entertains amendment in line with future developments in the country and the world.

Fikre Markos, an employee of Agricultural Transformation Agency and consultant, also said that utmost effort has been made to incorporate every relevant information in the draft regulation. He also mentioned that once the regulation is approved attention should be directed quickly towards devising a directives.

Member farm representatives who have made active participation in the discussion raised a number of issues to be incorporated as an input into the regulation. The need for updating list of pests on regular basis has been pointed out as a matter of concern for future.

Presentation of the new plant quarantine regulation by Dr. Waktole Sori, IPM component Manager, EHPEA

The Ethiopian Plant Quarantine Regulation in use was developed in 1992. In addition, the country is a signatory of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and further paving a way for the fulfillment of the needed  preconditions to become a member of WTO. In line with these realities, there is a dire need to have a new Plant Quarantine Regulation that takes in to account the present authentic situation of the country and the world. Thus, formulation of the new regulation is found to be an option less measure.

The quarantine regulation was being developed by team of experts and is financed by EHPEA.

Contact Info

Location : Micky Leyland Avenue on the Road to Atlas Hotel, NB Business Center; 6th floor; Room # 603

Phone : +251 11 6636750

P.O.Box: 22241 Code 1000


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