Target to boost horticulture industry with a 22.8 per cent increase in the industry’s export earning
The planting of 40 hectares of ornamental trees have boosted the horticulture industry with farmers envisaging a 22.8 per cent increase in export earning for 2009.
The farmers from the country’s 30 cooperatives said that they are targeting to earn at least Frw800 million in exports of ornamental trees next year.
Last year alone the country earned $5 million (Frw 2.7 billion) from export in the horticulture industry.
The target could help Rwanda meet her horticulture export receipts target of $5.9 million (Frw3.245 billion) this year.
The planted ornamental decorative trees are from the Dracaena family including stedurii variegate and reflexa anita.
Gabriel Ngendabanga, the Rwanda Flowers Farmers’ Association President, said, overall production is expected to be 4,000 tonnes with each hectare producing 10 tonnes valued at Frw20m.
“Upon harvest, the first consignment of about 30 tonnes will be exported to Holland,” he said.
The government of Rwanda aims at $12 million (6.6 billion) export earnings from horticulture by 2012, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
With this expected increase of production and revenue, the association plans to construct a 50 hectares greenhouse for stocking flower seedlings imported from Nairobi.
Ngendabanga also said with the help of the European Union to boost the horticulture industry in the country, farmers will be trained on flower handling right from the garden to the market.
The move is to train farmers in flower production as part of the campaign to increase local production and adding value to floriculture in the country.
Two members of the Flower Farmer’s Association; Gabriel Ngendabanga (president of the flower farmers association) and Thierry Muganga from Afro-fluer, a flower cooperative, were last month from 13th August to 30th September trained on flower technology in Fujian Province of China.
China is well known for the new and a modern shape of ornamental tree in the type of Mbosai.
The training equipped them with skills in product diversification, garden designing, decorating using stones, and product propagation.
Last year, a total of 20 florists were trained with funding from Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (Nuffic).
The three-months training that took place in Naivasha, Kenya, cost €49,800 (Frw40m).
The participants learnt crop management, pest and disease control, fertilizer use, post harvest and package handling, drainage and irrigation.
The trained flower farmers are expected to train fellow farmers on the modern farming techniques in order to boost flower farming in Rwanda.
Government is optimistic that horticulture earnings can improve lives of flower farmers thereby fostering the Economic Development and Poverty reduction Strategy (EDPRS).
Currently, Rwanda’s principal cultivated flower is the Dracaena Ornamental. There are hopes to increase the different types of ornamentals grown.
The Rwanda Flower Farmers Association, established in 2005 to promote flower cultivation, now consists of over 3,600 farmers.
The association has grown from just two hectares of flower plantations in 2005 to 40 hectares today and it is hoped it will be increased to 200 hectares in the next two years in order to reap from the growth of the European flower market.