A recent spell of inclement weather in some of the main horticultural areas proved devastating for Ethiopia’s Valentine’s Day flower exports.
Officials at the Ethiopian Flowers and Vegetables Exporters Association say that cold weather saw the late cutting of flowers, affecting exports to European market for Valentine’s Day.
The association said that the country failed to reach an expected 30 percent increase in exports, as the bad weather delayed flower cutting by up to 15 days.
Horticultural products have, in recent years become one of Ethiopia’s major export products along with traditional coffee.
Flower growers are benefitting from financial incentives as they mount a challenge to Kenya – the current African leader in flower exports.
“This year, the flower price was up in Europe and we were expecting to get more income from the sector. But we are unable to achieve the goal,” the association said in a statement.
Prices of flowers in Europe have risen significantly, with some flowers fetching 0.60 euro, up from 0.25 euro.
Ethiopia began exporting flowers in 2001-02, earning US$159 000, exports soared to US$2.9 million the following year.
In the past six months, Ethiopia has earned US$156 million and is expecting to get more than US$300 million from annual exports.
Last year, the country made US$220 million from the horticulture industry, making it one of Ethiopia’s biggest foreign currency earners.