Opportunities in Rwanda for floriculture

For sale: Bella Flowers

Bella Flowers is Rwanda's only rose breeding company on the shores of Lake Muhazi at an altitude of about 1,500 m above sea level. The government of Rwanda developed Bella Flowers to demonstrate the feasibility of growing roses in Rwanda and is now looking for investors to take over. The company became fully operational in mid-2016, with the first export to the Netherlands in September 2016. The company contains modern infrastructure, including 50 ha of greenhouses, cold storage, fertigation and sprinkler units.

Bella Flowers. Photos: NAEB

Bella Flowers produces different varieties of premium medium-sized roses. At the moment 50 ha is in production and another 50 ha is currently being developed.

On average, 500,000 stems are exported weekly to Amsterdam (300,000 in the low season and 760,000 in the high season). Other destinations for direct sales are in France, Djibouti, Ghana and Romania.

Horticulture in Rwanda
The agricultural sector makes a major contribution to the national economy of Rwanda. The development of a commercial horticulture sector (including floriculture) has been identified as a priority by the Rwandan government, with a focus on increasing production on the one hand, and on supporting trade and export on the other.

Rwanda is a small country in the heart of Africa, with an area of ​​26,338 square kilometers. The country is mainly mountainous (earning it the nickname 'land of a thousand hills') with an average altitude of 900 meters in the south to more than 2,400 meters in the Congo-Nile regions (northwest), where the landscape is characterized by steep slopes. Its high altitude, fertile soils, abundant rainfall throughout the year of between 900 mm to 1,500 mm and average day temperature of 20-30 °C and night temperature of 5-20 °C, cheap labor of $1.10 to $2.20 per day, and the availability of water from countless rivers and lakes make Rwanda an interesting destination for the development of floriculture.

Rwanda takes up second place in Sub-Saharan Africa on the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index, mainly due to government efforts to improve the business climate and absence of corruption in the country.

The country has favorable conditions for horticultural production, such as a mild climate, sufficient water, labor, and a growing demand due to a growing urban middle class. The export of flowers from Rwanda is promising in view of the climate, but has limitations on competitiveness (Dijkxhoorn et al, 2015, Horticulture and floriculture in Rwanda)

The floriculture sector
The floriculture sector in Rwanda is still very small, with only one company that produces roses (Bella Flowers) and three companies that produce summer flowers for the export market. Those three growers are:

Floramatt ltd.
Floramatt, member of Royal FloraHolland, is a 3.5 ha company located in the Rulindo district, 1 hour from Kigali. The company produces summer flowers such as Calla Lilies, Craspedia, Mobydick, Tuberose, Chrocosmia and Arabicum. In addition to its own production, the company works with small outgrowers that account for 20% of the entire production. The company exports an average of 60,000 stems a week to Aalsmeer via Brussels, in the period from May to September. Floramatt started in November 2015. In 2017, the company achieved a turnover of $110,000. The ambition is to reach 2.5 million stems per year in 5 years.

The company's biggest challenge is the lack of plant material due to the limited financial resources available for imports. Another challenge is the lack of good packaging material and the high costs of importing it. Other challenges include the knowledge and skills of the outgrowers, the poor quality of the land, the flooding in April and the availability of necessary resources such as fertilizers.

Bright Harvest

Bright Harvest is the smallest exporting company in floriculture, located in the Rulindo district, north of Kigali. The company has around 3 hectares of land at its disposal, on which it produces summer flowers such as Craspedia, Mobydick, Tuberose and Chrocosmia. So far the company, which started in 2016 and is a member of Royal FloraHolland, sent 15 shipments of 10,000 stems to the Netherlands. The company faces the same challenges as Floramatt.

Left: Chrocosmia from Bright Harvest. Right: owner of Bloom Hills Rwanda, Shungo Harada, at the Gentiana trials

This company is experiencing additional difficulties due to the high acidity of the soil. Bright Harvest tries to increase production by cooperating with outgrowers and is in consultation with the government of Rwanda to be allocated better land.

Bloom Hills Rwanda
Bloom Hills Rwanda is located in Nyacyonga Flowerpark, where the Japanese owner uses 3 hectares of land for the production of Gentiana, with expansion options of up to 10 ha. The company cooperates with Hachimantai City in Japan for the production of the Gentiana varieties. Production started in 2015 and is still in the trial phase. They have yet to produce stems of sufficient length.

Air freight

There are various options for air freight from Kigali. KLM has a daily flight from Kigali to Amsterdam, and three times a week the national airline Rwandair flies to Brussels.

Investment opportunities
More information about investment opportunities in the floriculture sector in Rwanda can be found in the Investors Package.

Source: Agroberichten Buitenland

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