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"Senthil Kumaran , Asthor: "The African continent has a lot of potential for the horticulture sector"
Development of the export oriented cut flower rose industry in Africa
The Tanaflora project, in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia was the first and biggest project initiated by government along with the Development Bank of Ethiopia. The project was awarded and executed by the Spanish greenhouse manufacturer - Asthor agricola in late 2010s. They built a complete 40 ha – each one hectare sized greenhouses for rose cultivation with all necessary logistics like pack house and propagation facilities. "We were part of the project from scratch, right from the bush clearing," says Kumaran. "The General Manager Dr.Alemayehu and his team have made a lot of efforts to set up this project and it was a really challenging project for us also. This project developed the entire area for further investments and employs around 750 local employees (mostly women – 70 to 80% in total employees) at the moment and indirectly many more. This has helped to get rural employment leading towards an uplift of their economical conditions. I could witness their self confidence by working in such projects and improve their skill developments. Besides business, such hi tech horticultural projects alleviates rural poverty by improving their skills in undeveloped areas of Africa, and gives lots of self satisfaction,” says Kumaran.
Future for African horticulture
“By suitable site selection at different geographical locations with appropriate micro climate conditions, according to selected horticultural crops, with good fertile virgin soils, enough water resources, the crop has no complaint except enjoying growing and delivering the best possible yields in Africa. Though it is very challenging, but it is possible with consistent efforts and bullet proof management systems,” says Kumaran.
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