A number of Kenyan and Ethiopian horticulture producers and exporters expressed a strong interest in utilising Dubai Flower Centre’s (DFC) most advanced cool chain and one of the world’s fastest growing transit hubs.
Speaking to reporters following a series of marketing visits, meetings with public and private sector officials and visits to farms in the two countries, DFC Marketing Director, Ibrahim Ahli said, “The floriculture sector in Kenya is the second most important contributor to the foreign exchange exchequer after tea and contributes more than AED 918 million ($250million) per annum while employing around 70,000 people directly and more than 1.5 million indirectly.”
He noted that the current Kenya Flower Council membership represents more than 70% of the flowers exports. While Kenya was not exporting the products in 1970, it is currently the leading exporter to the European Union, contributing 31% of all flower sales. The main European Union markets are Holland, Germany, Switzerland, France, and the United Kingdom.
The Kenyan flower industry has gone through a significant maturing since 1990. Kenya's export volume has continued to grow from 14,000 tons in 1990 to 81,217 tons in 2005.
Mr. Ahli also met with Erastus Mureithi, Chairman of the Kenya Flower Council who was the honorary guest at a special networking dinner attended by over 100 public and private sector professionals from the horticulture industry and presented his visions about the co-operating between Kenya and DFC.
Mr. Ahli also visited Ethiopia that earns just over AED 72 million ($20 million) annually from flowers, according to the Ethiopian Horticulture Producers and Exporters Association (EHPEA).
The DFC delegation also met with Mr. Fantaye Biftu, special advisor to the Minister of Trade and Industry in Ethiopia Mr. Biftu was confident that the co-operation with Dubai Flower Centre would enable Ethiopia to access new markets. Around 70 professionals from the public and private sector involved in the horticulture industry attended the function.
“The rate of growth of the flower industry in Ethiopia is an incredible 200% and the country is bound to rank among the biggest exporters in the world for cut flowers in the next decade or so due to their ideal agro-climatic conditions, business-friendly environment and strong government support,” remarked Mr. Ahli.
He observed that the Ethiopian government had sought to entice investors with incentives, including an improved investment code, five-year tax holiday, duty-free import of machinery, and by leasing land for just AED 66 ($18) per hectare per year.
There are about 70 farms in Ethiopia, of which 45 percent are locally owned while the remaining 55 percent belong to foreign investors.
The Dubai Flower Centre (DFC) was born from a vision to provide a world-class, comprehensive air cargo gateway for perishable goods. A vision to provide state-of-the-art facilities for the logistics needs of the region and beyond. DFC was set up at a cost of AED 257 million (US$70 million). The facility has been designed to boost the overall perishable cargo handling capacity at the Dubai International Airport. The state-of-the-art transhipment facility has the capacity to handle 180,000 tonnes of perishable products annually.