Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Flower growers wilt over new packaging standards

The Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency (EHDA) is requiring flower exporters to use a new standardized packaging system starting this week, despite members of the association opposition.

At a meeting held last Thursday, agency flower growers and exporters said the new requirements would significantly add to their cost of production. Growers also complained that a majority of suppliers and producers of the newly selected packaging material do not have experience in the sector.

The new standard approved by EHDA and the Ethiopian Standards Agency gives the rights to four packaging material producers to supply the packaging for the growers and exporters. But growers complained that the company known as Unlimited Packaging had the experience they required. “It will affect the sector export,” growers said at the meeting led by Haileselasse Tekie, Director General of the agency.

Experts said that the new regulation will discourage growers from exporting flowers. Previously about 15 packaging producers were supplying packaging for flower exporters, but most of the companies are not included based on the new criteria, which includes standard laboratories and production centres.

Burayu Printing and Packaging, Ethiopian Pulp and Paper Share Company and Menaye Packaging are the three companies selected with Unlimited to supply the packaging product for growers. Based on the new regulation flower growers and exporters will use standard packaging from these companies as of this Tuesday.

Satish Vuyyuru, Head of Addis Ahadu Packaging, told Capital that his company will begin working Monday, May 14 with the other four packaging producers to supply boxes for flower exporters. Owned by Indian investors, it is one of the major companies in Ethiopia’s flower packaging industry. The company has received an award from the Prime Minister two years ago for its contribution to the flower sector, which is about seventy percent of the total packaging targets flower growers, the manager said. Previously Addis Ahadu was not included among the selected packaging producers. But after a discussion, the two agencies have allowed the company to continue its business.

“However they set pre conditions for the company to fulfil in the near future,” the manager added.

Most of the companies that had been supplying their products for the growers will now be forced to leave the sector.