Rwanda has set its eyes on the prize of flower production with customary changes and enhancement already taking place to scale the industry higher on another above par atmosphere, as it were.
In relation to this, the East African state’s flower sector has already made a great deal of signing, partnering with its neighbouring Kenyan investor, Florammat Limited, and Terimberemukoto Farming Cooperative.
The dual ship accord will ensure that the flower industry has its necessities taken care of in a bid to expand its territorial regional influence as well as stir up growth in the industry.
Under the agreement, the investor and the cooperative agreed to plant an extra 1.5 hectares of land in Bahimba marshland, Rulindo District with flowers, a move that is projected to increase output and spur the country’s export volumes.
Simon Ethangatta, a managing consultant with Floramatt, said the deal is designed to attract more farmers into flower farming and improve production for exports.
The company, according to Ethangatta, wants to tap into the opportunity Rwanda presents, including favourable climate to grow summer flowers for the global market.
Rwanda’s floriculture sector is still relatively small despite progress made over the past five years. However, the sector is attracting interest from investors who are looking at Rwanda as a potential investment hub to export to regional and global markets.
Rwanda is banking on its geographical location, as well as natural assets, and its increasingly competitive business environment to attract investment in the sector.
Under the deal, Florammat will provide farmers with seedlings, technical support and market for flowers.
In May, the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), and Rwanda Development Board (RDB) with support of World Bank Group’s Rwanda Investment Climate Programme organised an investor roundtable for potential investors and operators in Nairobi, Kenya.
The roundtable was part of efforts aimed at attracting investors into the floriculture sector
Epimaque Nsanzabaganwa, the horticulture division manager at NAEB, said the project of expanding acreage under flower farming is based on Rulindo district’s 2017/2018 performance contract which is expected to be extended to Cyinuzi, Ngoma, and Base, Tumba, Cyungo sectors and Muyanza marshland.
“The farmers in these areas will be trained in proper agronomical practices and also connected to buyers,” he said.
Rulindo targets to increase the land leased for flower growing to 300 hectares by 2018 and also promote floriculture among the local communities to get outgrowers.
The country is counting on the Gishari Flower Park in Rwamagana District to boost the sector.
The park is currently being run by Bella Flowers, a government firm.
Floriculture was identified by government as a sector that could quickly-improve the country’s export revenue.
The export body is also currently mapping land that is suitable for horticulture as it seeks more investors. The objective is to at least increase to have more than 2,000 hectares of land dedicated to export-oriented production by 2018.
Rwanda is currently producing 500 stems of roses and targets to increase flower exports to one million stems of flowers. NAEB figures indicate that horticulture exports have risen to $10 million (Rwf8.2 billion) in 2016, up from $6 million (Rwf5 billion) in 2013.
Overall, the flower industry has been growing at a low rate of about 5 per cent over the past years in terms of increased areas under flower production.