Special Year Overview: August 2016

Ups and downs in Africa

August was a month featuring some good news from across the globe. Africa was a mixed bag, with good news like an anniversary and the potential of Rwanda as a producing country, but also bad news like adverse weather conditions and civil unrest in Ethiopia.



We spoke with Ed Kiley about an interesting plant concept. Deer-Leerious Plants were introduced at the MANTS trade show this past year and have proven to be a success with over 100 garden centers embracing the program in its first year. This innovative concept is the 'brainchild' of the folks at The Perennial Farm. It introduces plants and informational signage that are useful for those consumers where deer present a problem in their gardens.



AQ Roses in Ethiopia, the rose nursery owned by family business Rosa Plaza in Rijsenhout, the Netherlands, has existed for 10 years. They don’t hold to a specific date, according to Wim Ammerlaan, but they held a nice party at the nursery a month ago. As can also be seen and read on the website, the workers - especially some 25 employees from the very beginning – were put in the limelight.



Ethiopia was in the middle of its rainy season. This year, however, the rains were heavier and started earlier than last year. As a result, the production of many flower growers decreased, which almost doubled the prices of the flowers on the auction. The heavy rains are expected to continue for two months. This is explained by Bereket Adane of Dugda Flora, an Ethiopian 25ha sized rose farm that mainly exports to the auction in the Netherlands.



Rwanda has a lot of potential in floriculture but not much has been done till now to tap into and develop this potential. The government is encouraging companies from abroad to invest in the country, but it is important to think carefully about what flowers to cultivate, and exactly where in the country. "The country should not want to produce the same products as Kenya or Ethiopia. There is a need to develop a niche market. And in order to achieve this and make it successful, only people that have the capacity to invent such a specific market and possess required knowhow should be entrusted to run a flower farm in Rwanda", says Rwandan product developer François Nsenga of Ninaf Consultancy.

Asocolflores released a new marketing campaign to promote Colombia as the land of flowers. The new video features soldiers attacking each other, but not with conventional weapons. Instead, they can be seen hurling flower grenades at each other, filling the air with colorful petals.



Dutch 'Horticultural entrepreneur of the year' Toon Ebben from Boomkwekerij Ebben officially opened Plantarium 2016. Right at the start he had the honour to reveal the best novelty at Plantarium 2016, Astilbe 'Chocolate Cherry' (Mighty), entered by plantgrower Compass Plants BV from Hillegom.



Kenyan hypericum grower Rimi Flora expanded their farm in Njoro Nakuru. Currently, they have planted four hypericum varieties of Magical range on 4 ha of land and they are planning to expand it to 7 ha by the end of this year, and to 15ha by end of next year. Besides that, they are also adding the gypsophila My Pink to their assortment.



KLM streamlined African flower cargo: "It won't apply to all cargo, but in general we are now able to guarantee a shelf life of 1 or 2 days more than our competitors." That's the result of an extensive pilot project by KLM and Panalpina Airflo, in cooperation with FlowerWatch. Panalpina Airflo is KLM's main logistics partner on the ground in Kenya; FlowerWatch is a service provider, assisting companies in streamlining the cold chain. And this news is bigger – and the gain greater – than you might think at first glance.

Ethiopian protesters set fire to two horticultural farms in Meshenti town. This was reported by local media. According to madote.com, the flower fields have been turned into ashes. There have been anti-government protests in Ethiopia since last November. Reuters reported the death of at least 90 protesters in the beginning of August.

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