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The International Floriculture and Horticulture Trade Fair were held this week at the Millennium Hall. Exhibitor profile of the trade fair includes manufacturers
of Mini-tractors for gardening, soil softeners, lawn-mowers, watering equipment, greenhouses, garden accessories, vases for plants and floral arrangements, composts and fertilizers, grass, seeds for flowers and ornamental plants, herbicides & insecticides.
The exhibition, which is organized every two years, opened on March 20 and closed on March 22, 2013. The opening was attended by Mekonnen Manyazewal, Minister of Industry and other government officials.
“In the past two years, we have made great strides in our industry in terms of expansions and maturity. Most farms want to expand, and others have stabilized. However, there are still challenges on sustaining existing investors and attracting new ones and making our country the leading horticultural hub in Africa,” said Zelalem Messele, Chairman of the Ethiopian Horticultural Producers and Exporters Association (EHPEA).
The challenges that were mentioned include the new investment policy and its lack of comprehension in terms of relevant incentives for the growth of the industry, access to land for expansion and new comers, high air freight cost and lack of respect for intellectual property rights.
The Chairman also stated that, despite the listed challenges, the industry is improving and growing. Thus, the exhibition is a chance to reflect on the journey of the past ten years and build a good image of Ethiopia and display the quality of its products.
This exhibition aims to serve as the center stage for creating new markets, exchanging ideas and new developing trends in the industry, as well as discussing existing challenges and opportunities.
Given Ethiopia’s potential, its earnings from vegetables and fruits are not that considerable. The Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency figures from 2011/12 reveal that earnings from the export of vegetables was USD 123.60 million, which comprises 37 percent of total exports, while flower export earnings were USD 212.56 million, comprising of 63 percent of total exports.
Various reports suggest that Ethiopian high quality flowers, vegetables and fruit are reaching over 100 market destinations throughout the world. So far, the industry has employed around 183,804 individuals, of which 70 percent are women.