Frans Diedens, Yalkoneh Flowers

Ethiopian hypericum farm adapts to changing climate

"The changing climate is a challenge for us. It is becoming colder and colder", says Frans Diedens of Yalkoneh Flowers. He grows hypericums in Sebeta, Ethiopia, 2,100 meters above sea level and is currently equipping the last hectares of his 17ha farm with a sprinkling system to protect his crops against the frost. 


Brigitte Verlinden and Frans Diedens of Yalkoneh Flowers at the IFTEX 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Cold nights
Over the last four nights, Diedens has seen temperatures around and even below zero, which is something quite new for him. "In the past, we never had frosts, it started last year and it is returning."

Protecting the crop
Because Diedens expects this problem to return with colder temperatures, he decided to install a sprinkling system. "If we do not water the crop before it starts to freeze, it will be damaged. I have heard that some growers even have lost hectares due to frost damage."

Currently, the majority of Diedens' farm is equipped with a sprinkling system and the last 4 hectares of the farm are being installed at the moment.

Prices
On top of the bad weather, the prices for hypericums were not that satisfying either, particularly in the Netherlands. "From April to August, they were very low and it was almost not profitable for us to send flowers to this country. We were fortunate to have good relations in Japan. We're pleased with the prices we received over there." And partly for this reason, Diedens is aiming to increase his volumes to Japan. "Currently, we send around 25 percent of our flowers to Japan and we are aiming to export around 40 percent to this country."

For more information
Yalkoneh Flowers
Frans Diedens

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