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Local Industries

The story of the first rose farm in Ethiopia

Hinh T. Dinh's picture

 

For our research on African competitiveness in light, simple manufactured products , we recently visited the first Ethiopian rose farm, created in 2000. In the course of ten years, the farm triggered the rapid emergence of a competitive rose export industry that now involves more than seventy-five firms, hires more than 50,000 workers and is bringing in more than US $200 million a year.

We learned that the idea to start a rose farm first came to Ryaz’s (Owner of the farm) father, an Indian- origin head of a successful Ugandan conglomerate, after a visit to Ethiopia, where he scoped out potential business opportunities.  Although he considered banking and bottled water, highly favorable soil and climatic conditions (warm days and cold nights), competitive fuel and electricity costs and, above all, competitive air freight costs - which account for more than fifty percent of the export-related production costs - made rose farming an easy choice, despite Ethiopia not having any flower industry to speak of at the time.