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.