Fontana PLC which already has existing floriculture operations in Kenya is investing 11million USD in setting up its farm in Ethiopia. The company which will start operation within the next few weeks has already secured by lease 100ha of land in Wenjeta and Wegelta kebeles in the country’s Amhara regional state. The farm is an area near the horticultural rich Bahir Dar.
Fontana has already hired 1,300 employees and is clearing land for growing roses and for warehouse construction. The company will grow various cut rose varieties with an initial 65ha. Their current projections are 95.9 million dollars annual revenue.
Apart from exporting the roses to the traditional auction market in the Netherlands, Fontana also has other direct markets in the Netherlands as well as in the Middle East, which is rare in the industry, explained Daniel Tereffe, horticulture investment project supervision and support officer at the Bahir Dar branch of the Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency (EHDA).
Fontana joins four other floriculture companies already having farms in Bahir Dar with three more having acquired investment licenses and land to engage set up shop.
Ethiopia’s horticulture export market is one of the largest foreign exchange earners in the country raking in 245.4m USD in financial year 2013/2014. An increase from 212 m USD fro the year 2011/2012. The highest percentage (about 84%) of exports go to the Netherlands which translates to 83.4pc share in value of Ethiopia’s export earnings.