Rwanda will participate in the upcoming 7th International Floriculture and Horticulture Trade Fair (IFTF) in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The week-long expo, that kicks off tomorrow, will attract over 500 sectors stakeholders, including farmers, exporters, investors and experts from across the world. The country will be represented by more than 10 local companies with view to position Rwanda as an upcoming flower and horticulture producer.
Shungo Harada, the managing director of Bloom Hills Rwanda, a Japanese flower export firm with operations in Musanze District, said the trade fair presents local exporters a huge opportunity to engage potential foreign buyers as well as understand market requirements and dynamics.
“We have already shipped our consignments and are looking forward to getting the best out of the expo and representing Rwanda flower sector very well,” he said. He added that it is through such exhibitions that both farmers and exporters can learn and be able to build capacities to ensure they are competitive. Harada said, though the sector is young in Rwanda, there is still need to introduce and venture into a variety of species to boost competitiveness and profitability of the local flower industry. He said it is important to introduce new seed varieties, noting that it is critical for a profitable and sustainable flower business.
“It is, therefore, important that the country begins to invest in niche varieties and research, especially on different kinds of flowers, as a key component toward making Rwanda’s flower industry competitive,” Harada said. He called for more cold rooms to ensure quality and reduce losses along the value chain. Sector experts have in the recent past called for strong public and private sector partnerships to boost investments in the flower industry.
Flower export targets
As part of export promotion and diversification efforts, Rwanda wants to more than double its flower exports by the end of the year, thanks to the country’s flagship project Gishari Flower Park project and Bella Flowers. This, according to sector experts, will help keep the export sector competitive despite a fall in global commodity prices which has affected specifically Rwanda’s mining industry.
The National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) is working with investors and exporters to increase output. Though the sector has huge growth potential, it has stagnated for years due to various challenges, including lack of expertise, high freight fees and capital. However, the government targets to increase flower production to at least 44,000 tonnes per annum, generating up to $140 million by 2020 in export receipts, from the current $10 million.
The flower sector was projected to bring in about $220 million (Rwf166.1 billion) by 2017, according to NAEB’s Rwanda Floriculture Development report for 2013.