Loui Hooyman, Esmeralda Farms:

First flowers harvested at Esmeralda's new farm in Ethiopia

The first flowers from Esmeralda's new Ethiopian farm have been harvested. "Last week we received the first summer flowers and this week, the first boxes with roses will arrive at our headquarters in the Netherlands," says Loui Hooyman, director of Esmeralda Farms, a breeder and grower of cut flowers.

Loui Hooyman and Robin of Kessel of Esmeralda Farms at the IFTF in Vijfhuizen, the Netherlands.

150 ha sized farm in Ethiopia
Last January, Esmeralda Farms started establishing a farm in Ethiopia. The size of the total farm is 150 ha. "Currently, 17 ha under glass and 25 open field is ready. Fifteen different products, mainly summer flowers and roses are being commercially produced. There is also a trial greenhouse in which test codes from our farms in Ecuador are being cultivated. Some hundred test codes are also being trailed at that greenhouse at the moment."

Roses grown in the greenhouse in Ethiopia.

High quality flowers
Last week, the first gypsophilas, statices, limonioms and trachelium were harvested and sent to the headquarters in Aalsmeer, the Netherlands, for tests. "Before starting to sell the flowers, we first test all our varieties, so also these flowers," says Hooyman. They are very pleased with the results. "Compared with our summer flowers from Ecuador, we do not see any differences. Also regarding quality these flowers do not differ from the ones from Ecuador." Next week, they will start shipping them throughout Europe and Asia.

Flowers grown on the open field in Ethiopia.

Divide export markets
Esmeralda farms owns 500 hectare of nurseries. The majority of the Esmeralda's nurseries are located in South America. However, due to increasing labor costs and competition, the company moved part of their nurseries from South America to Ethiopia. This also offered the opportunity to divide their export markets. "The farm in Ethiopia will supply Europe and Asia and the farms in South America will supply the US and Canada," says Hooyman.

The greenhouse in Ethiopia.

Future plans
The farm in Ethiopia will keep expanding in size and amount of products. "Esmeralda is known for their broad assortment, so also at this farm we want to offer a wide selection of flowers. We are aiming to increase the assortment to 40 different varieties." Besides that, they are also planning to supply farm made bouquets. "The demand for farm made bouquets is increasing and we have the right assortment to create a broad selection of bouquets. Transportation costs might be a bit higher, but in this way we can deliver the end consumers fresh and high quality flowers," says Hooyman.

For more information:
Esmeralda Farms BV
Loui Hooyman
Email: loui@esmeraldafarms.nl

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