Source : Monitor on Line – UGANDA has registered an increase in flower export earnings this year of over $36 million up from $32 million in 2004. According to Uganda Flower Exporters Association so far 70,000 tonnes of flower species have been exported compared to last year’s 63,000 tonnes.
Results have been attributed to UFEA member’s massive campaign in expanding the industry to even places where flowers cannot grow like in highland areas of western Uganda. Not only is expansion campaign going to boost exports but its earnings are projected to surpass other export commodities like fish in a few months.
Over 40 hectares of flowers are expected to be in production in the next few months indicating a 25 percent growth.
“The expansion will be boosted even more if government implements an investment incentive of a ten year tax holiday to attract new investors,” the Executive Director UFEA, Mr Keith Henderson, said.
Henderson said this in an interview with Daily Monitor at UFEA head offices located in the UMA show grounds recently. He said the Uganda National Floriculture Industry Strategy Plan calls for a doubling in size of the flower sector from its present 180 hectares to 360 hectares by 2007.
This is expected to be employing 10,000 people, contributing significantly to poverty eradication in Uganda, and bringing in annual export revenue to Uganda in excess of $50 million.
“We now need more existing product from existing farm expansion, and to expand the range of flowers and cuttings for export in order to achieve economies of scale and minimise freight rates,” he said.
Already Pearl Flowers Company is investing over $4 million in establishing a 20-hectare farm where a total of 600 people are expected to get jobs.
Henderson said Pearl Flowers is looking at specialising new species of roses, which are long headed like those grown in Kenya and other species too.
Other species produced include cuttings, Gerbera, anthuriums, sweetheart and intermediate Roses among others. Commenting about the New Year programme, Henderson said they would be implementing a cool chain audit phase II where consignments will be followed up from the farms up to the airport a measure to check hold ups and quality control. UFEA is also is looking at designing and exporting bouquets directly to Europe as a means of adding value to be able to earn an extra dollar.
Uganda’s flowers are mainly exported to the Netherlands and UK but new market opportunities are opening up in USA and Dubai where they are highly demanded.
He said Uganda was invited to participate in a flower expo in March 2006 in Miami-USA and in April they will be in Dubai.