Unrest in Ethiopia keeps flowers grounded

NL: "Flower prices will be high on Monday"

Unrest in Ethiopia is keeping flowers grounded since last Tuesday. On top of that, supply out of Kenya is lower due to the weather. In turn, it is expected that the prices, particularly for the roses, will be high on Monday.  

"Today, we received some flowers", says Rinus Bouwman of BSI, a company in Aalsmeer that processes flowers from Ethiopia and Kenya. "However, it is not that much. I estimate that 90% of the usual supply is not leaving Ethiopia. And in Kenya, they are dealing with dark and wet weather, which decreases the supply as well."

Since Tuesday, farms in Ethiopia have shut down as a result of the protests that were arising after the murder of a famous singer and activist Hachalu Hunessa on Monday night. The protests are violent, resulting in blocked roads and the shutdown of the internet. In turn the majority of the flowers cannot be shipped to their destinations. Also Marginpar, who has three farms in Ethiopia, announced on their website that due to the political unrest, they cannot ship their flowers to the Netherlands.

"Only just a few farms near the airport were able to get some product on board", Bouwman says. These are just a handful of farms, around 4. There are no flowers coming out of Ziway and Holeta (areas where the flower cultivation is concentrated) just because there is no transport. There are, however, passenger flights, Ethiopian Airlines continued flying, but there is practically no cargo. 

What will happen in the coming hours/days is difficult to predict. The provision information is minimal, and can change easily. The latest chatter Rinus heard this morning is that the road from Ziway to the airport will open today. "This will mean that flowers will arrive in Luik, Belgium, Saturday afternoon." Helena van Achterberg of Marginpar heard this morning that shipments might start tomorrow again, which means that it will be at the auction on Tuesday/Wednesday. 

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