Flower farmers in Uganda are facing hardship in the face of reduced exports and a step fall of prices.
The floriculture sector is in a devastating situation due to increased competition and reduced exports following the EU ban of flower exports from Uganda to European countries.
The Uganda Flower Exporters Association (UFEA) which is an umbrella of 15 companies has declared that the rose segment is the most affected segment in the floriculture sector. The export of the Ugandan floriculture mostly depends on roses and chrysanthemum cuttings.
Based on the statistics from the UEFA, Uganda made an export of 6,810 tonnes of flowers in 2014, compared to 7,364 tonnes in 2013, this shows a 8 per cent fall in exports. This resulted to a drop in earnings from $46 million in 2013 to $38.7 million in 2014.
This drastic fall in revenue earning is quite troublesome since the sub sector of roses employs 8,500 people, 80 per cent of them women.
The European Union in 2014 made a formal notice due to an increased number of interceptions of Uganda horticultural exports. Among the commodities that were rejected roses were among.
Ugandan roses had started to face the rejection from the European markets from the time when they discovered moth in the roses imported from Uganda, which was two years ago.
The European Union claimed that exporters of horticulture exports in Uganda had failed to comply with the phytosanitary certification requirements that were put in place.
“We are still suffering from the impact of that notice,” UFEA executive director Juliet Musoke told The EastAfrican.
Ms Musoke further added that the sector is also facing strong competition from Ethiopia, which is also among the reasons it is performing poorly. Ethiopia has recently ventured into the floriculture sector and has involved itself in immense production.