SA: Budding rose farmer making impact in Bloemfontein

An interest in flower arrangement has motivated a Bloemfontein woman to venture into rose farming. Nelly Poonyane’s rose farm opened its doors in April this year. She has 15 employees, seven of them women. It took Poonyane 12 months to set up the 3800 square meters hydroponic system. At the height of global uncertainty last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Poonyane was hard at work to realize her dream and ultimately create jobs.

“My background is in events planning. I used to organize weddings, parties, any form of celebration. It was during that time that I started to develop an eagerness to do my own arrangement. Because I was outsourcing, whenever I have a wedding, I would have to get outside flowers from a florist. So, I decided to go to a school of weddings where they can teach me flower arranging and events decor.”

Poonyane saw an opportunity in the flower industry upon returning from her training course, and now she is giving Bloemfontein a chance to live up to its name - the 'City of Roses', Poonyane elaborates.

“After the course, I came back to the city and found out that  our local retails or wholesalers where we get our flowers get their flowers from Johannesburg. We are the City of Roses, but we don’t have our own roses in our town! That is when I began thinking about it and ultimately discussed the issue with my husband to think about how we could do something and grow our own roses.”

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