Despite its potential to bolster the country’s growth mainly through export receipts, floriculture sub sector still faces hiccups that are chocking its growth. The cut flowers sector is among the non-traditional export crops with high potential export for Rwanda. The sector brings in revenue in excess of 9.5 million euro. The flowers are mainly exported to Holland and Belgium.
One of these challenges is lack of seedlings for the flowers. Viateur Ndahayo from Green Smart Farm says that the hardest thing for them is to find grains; “we usually find them in Holland, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdoms. Holland has many seasonal ground cover flowers even though climate is a major setback.” He said.
“We would like to grow our own trees and flowers but we still lack lands and fields to grow them. It’s hard to take a hectare of palms which will give you grains fifteen years later while you’re still in the development hustle.” Added Ndahayo.
Another challenge that is hitting the promising subsector is lack of skilled labor which makes it hard because they must teach workers they employ from bottom to the top, everything they need to conduct this business.
“Trees and flowers business most of the time face diseases and we likely lack laboratories and the right food which have necessary vitamins to cure and give a healthy life to them,” Ndahayo says that few pesticides can be available in agrophamarcies which thus makes it difficult to access them.
Accordingly, prices differ depending on the type and quality a client needs, the prices ranges from 300Rwf to those that are higher like 100,000Rwf or 3millions.
“Our job is to keep and increase flowers productivity and deliver them to those who want to garden”, he added.
Call for private sector
Currently most flowers produced are consumed locally and the main client is the government, with a call for private sector and households to pick up the culture of using flowers. Floriculture business is not big in the export sector of many flowers and trees because most of the time it exports specific flowers that are roses, Ndahayo said.
He continued saying “We wouldn’t risk selling all of our products because it would take us at least three years to be where we are at now. This farm itself employs 30 people with optimism that the sector has the potential to create jobs which are likely to contribute towards closing the widening employment gap.
According to Rwanda Development Board, the government of Rwanda plans to establish a floriculture demonstration center on 200 hectares of land (The flower park) in the Eastern province, aiming at developing the demand for rose flowers in the local market. The project is to be carried under public and private partnership financing arrangement.
The project is valued at US$21 millions in investment cost and is expected to produce over 95 million stems annually during the first phase. The production techniques will ensure that 95% of products are of export quality.