Shipments of roses from Rwanda’s Gishari Flower Park in Rwamagana District have made it to key European flower markets. Since production started in July, the project has shipped over 1.7 million stems of roses over the past months, only six hectares of the park are currently in production. The Rwf 5.3 billion 35-hectare flower farm is expected to produce at least 44 million stems per year. More than 65 per cent of the roses produced so far have been exported to Europe through the world’s leading flower market in the Netherlands.
The National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) is working with sector investors and exporters to increase output. The government targets to increase flower production to 44,000 tonnes per annum, generating $140 million in export receipts by 2020, from the current $10 million. Floriculture was identified by government as a sector that could quickly improve export revenue. The sector has huge growth potential given Rwanda’s conducive climatic conditions and good business environment.
The situation has forced NAEB to intensify initiatives aimed at increasing the production and is also seeking more investors to take advantage of the opportunities floriculture presents. The country presently plans to develop 650 hectares of flowers, and appropriate sites have been earmarked according to NAEB. The initiative is part of the government’s strategy to increase the sector’s production, as well as boost export volumes and revenue. It is also aimed at diversification of the export base. NAEB is currently mapping land that is suitable for horticulture targeting a total of 2,000 hectares that will be dedicated to export-oriented production by 2018.