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Ethiopian Flower Growers Discontented by New Directive

Ethiopian flower growers expressed their dissatisfaction with the new directive requiring flowers for international export to be measured by the kilogram instead of by the number of stems as previously.

The directive to change the measurement used for flower export was passed by the Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency (EHDA). The agency expects this change to simplify the lengthy processes involved with using flowers stems at unit of measurement for export purposes.

Horticulture farmers, however, voice their opposition to the directive on the grounds that kilograms cannot be a standard measurement for all the varieties of flowers grown and exported from the country according to Tsegaye Abebe, Chairman of Ethiopian Horticulture Producers and Exporters Association.

The horticulture industry in Ethiopia includes flowers grown at three different altitudes. This means that the number of flower stems harvested from a kilogram will vary over the three different altitudes according to the farmers. Consequently highland flowers grown at altitudes above 2400 meters above sea level have a yield of 20 flower stems per kilogram while 25-30 flower stems can be got at mid altitudes and a yield of 35-40 stems for flowers grown at low altitudes.

The differences in yield translate to an important advantage for horticulturists in high yield areas while it could mean a loss for farmers in low yield areas competing in the same market.

Another issue raised was the natural tendency of flowers to lose weight during transportation becuase a considerable portion of their weight is moisture. Therefore difference in the weight of the flowers as oer the new measurement might cause conflict with customers according to Tsegaye.

Source: The Reporter