Government imported three containers of green house materials worth Rwf148m for a demonstration centre at Gishari in the Eastern Province, aimed at reviving the floriculture industry.
The park will be equipped with infrastructure including electricity, water and some green houses to showcase its commercial potential.
As a pilot project, government will develop two hectares to demonstrate to investors that the flower business is viable and competitive. Government is still mulling over a move to handover the project to private investors or continue under the Private Public Partnership (PPP).
This comes after Rwanda’s sole flower company, Rwanda Flora, was hit hard by the global financial crisis. The company’s output is at the moment not even enough to cater for the local demand.
Ndambe Nzaramba, Director General of Rwanda Horticulture Development Authority (RHODA) said that planting of flowers will commence in next fiscal year.
The move is part of the government initiative to boost national horticulture exports.
Horticulture, especially floriculture industry has been performing poorly since the global financial crisis three years back.
“Being a luxurious good, it was heavily affected by the global financial down turn but we hope the flower demonstration park will boost the sector,” he said.
The materials were supplied by a Kenyan company. Thirty hectares are earmarked for pilot project to attract investors.
Officials said that the land has been surveyed and that they are currently conducting property evaluation and expropriation, which is likely to cost Rw200 million.
The demonstration flower park will grow flowers for the local market. The project is being implemented by the National Agriculture Export Development Board.
“The flower business is wanting and a lot has to be done in terms of technical and financial support to even supply the local market,” he said.
Recently, World Bank Economic update urged Rwanda to diversify commercial agriculture to reduce her heavy reliance on coffee and tea in a bid to stimulate growth and increase foreign exchange.
Export crops contributed an average of 48.1 percent to Rwanda’s total export earnings in the past five years that accounted for 1.1 percent of GDP.
Coffee and tea dominated with more than 90 percent of the value of export crops.
In report, the World Bank calls for diversification of agricultural production, in particular agricultural export goods especially in horticulture and flowers.
The potential non-traditional export crops include fruits, vegetables, and cut flowers, essential oils and silk.
Overall, production volume of horticulture crops remains low as it is done by groups of small-scale producers.