According to the New Times Rwanda, there is an increase in the sales of Rwandan flowers.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, some businesses have seen an increase in sales.
Latest data from the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) indicate that floriculture business is booming, citing increased international markets and this year’s valentine week as the major triggers.
In the previous fiscal year, $7,908,025 (close to Rwf8bn) revenue was collected from a volume of 1,193,834 kgs of flowers exported.
This, according to NAEB, represents an increase of 96.6 per cent in revenues collected and also 58.7 per cent exported volume.
“This is mainly because of increased international markets and expansion of greenhouses on which the flowers are produced,” according to NAEB.
According to statistics from the agency, at least 90 per cent of the flowers from Rwanda are exported to The Netherlands and the rest is shared between France, Germany and Japan.
Officials say that the industry has seen major growth, coming back from last year’s travel restrictions imposed restrictions by foreign markets owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Globally, flowers represent an industry worth $18bn.
Industry players speak out
Flowers have the power to comfort us, lift our mood and brighten our communities, especially in this time that is very trying for all of us, according to some industry players who talked to The New Times.
The florists say that despite limited events such as weddings and hospitality, there has been an increase in demand especially in foreign markets.
“For sure the season was good, compared to last year. Flower business is seasonal, in our case we start from November to May,” said Joseph Muganga, Managing Director at Bright Harvest, a floriculture firm that was started by a consortium of Rwandan and other business operators from East Africa.
“We fetched a higher or better price than in the last two years,” he said.
According to him, floral business is ‘very’ volatile, and he urges that players keep increasing production.
“When the market looks this good, we have to increase production in order to take advantage, and also make individual tangible products.”
Muganga decried that one of the main challenges industry players face is the ever-changing auction prices.
“There is an auction house in which we all send our products. Farmers then consider factors like quality, volume to determine the value.”
There are also other bright spots, said Ephraim Kwitonda, who works at Bella Flowers. He said that for some time, florists had struggled to penetrate into online sales and appeal to more markets, but the pandemic caused a surge in e-commerce.
Bella Flowers grow fresh cut varieties of roses. It is also the country’s largest flower production company, with a 45 Ha land in production.
“We have expanded the area, from last year’s 20 Ha to the current 45.” He said.
Floriculture was identified by the government as a sector that could quickly improve export revenue.
The sector’s growth is therefore a boost to the country’s export industry as the government tries to find ways of reducing the trade deficit.