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Paul Holla , Holla Roses;

"“We are in the best spot of East Africa"

"We’ve been wanting to start growing roses in East Africa for a long time. First we thought of Kenya, of course, but once in Africa, we decided to take a look at our neighbouring country; Ethiopia. We have established ourselves over there and I believe we are now in the best spot of East Africa. The climate here is excellent throughout the year," says Paul Holla, CEO of the eponymous rose nursery Holla Roses BV, which he runs with his brothers Marc and Bart.

Bart, Marc and Paul Holla

Holla Roses' assortment consists of seventeen varieties, most of them have middle head sizes. "However, we also supply Hybrid Tea Roses -roses with larger head sizes- all year round. When we started cultivating roses in Ethiopia, ten years ago, the rose cultivation was still in its infancy here. Slowly it’s becoming more professional, allowing us to compete in quality with the best in the world."

Holla Roses is Fairtrade certified. "Achieving this certification, weeks ago, represents the next step in how Holla Roses wants to show its social and civic responsibility," Paul Holla indicates. "With this certification we show that we comply with all the environmental and social requirements of Fairtrade."

In practice, it means that a portion of the profits now go into a pool. This pool is managed by a board representing people of all levels within the company, the so-called 'Joint Body'. The money is allocated to various projects aimed at the improvement of living conditions of the workers, their families and the surrounding area. “Think of education, health care and other (recreational) facilities."

Sales go entirely through Aalsmeer. The Dutch auction receives about 2.5 million of Holla’s roses every week, all flown in from East Africa. "But it’s not inconceivable that this is about to change," says Holla. "Our roses are marketed all over the world and especially in Europe, America and Japan. I still see plenty of options."

More information:
Holla Roses
Paul Holla