‘Damage Esmeralda in Ethiopia not too severe’ Add New Topic

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    ‘Damage Esmeralda in Ethiopia not too severe’
    Esmeralda’s farm wasn’t totally destroyed. That’s what Tewodros Zewdie, the executive director of the Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association, says. According to him, the damage isn’t too bad and the company should be able to start up again.
    Zewdie said this at the IFTF fair in Vijfhuizen, in response to some articles in the media in which Esmeralda’s spokesmen stated that the company in Bahir Dar Ethiopia was totally destroyed by rebels last August. According to Zewdie, the barn is partially destroyed, one of the cold stores, a tractor and part of the greenhouse are damaged, but the company wasn’t damaged beyond repair and it should be possible to continue cultivation.

    Zewdie also mentioned that all but two Ethiopian companies have started exporting again. “A six-month state of emergency has been announced. Life is back to normal.” The executive director is very optimistic about the negotiations that are taking place between the Ethiopian government and the rebelling tribes. “We were in a crisis, but in six months time companies will be expanding again.”

    South America
    Esmeralda Farms – also present at IFTF – is now supplying its European customers from South America. A salesman explained that, in order to be able to fulfill European demand, they reopened a farm that was no longer in use in Ecuador. Apparently, the farm in Ethiopia was shut down by Clarisse Ullrich, widow of founder Peter Ullrich, because employees’ safety was feared for.

    “It’s been a bad year for Esmeralda because of Peter Ullrich’s death and the situation in Ethiopia. And although it’s more expensive to ship flowers from South America to Europe than from Ethiopia to Europe, customers know us and will support us”, said the salesman.

    Hanspeter and Kathleen Hug of Bellaflor Group were requested by the Ethiopian government to visit Esmeralda Farms in Ethiopia this week. “The Government wants a solution for the farm in Bahir Dar. They don’t want to see it closed. There’s damage, but not so much that the farm has to be shut down.” Hug is adamant that Bellaflor Group won’t be taking over Esmeralda’s farm.

    Fingers crossed
    Kathleen Hug explained at IFTF that the Ethiopian company that she and her husband have, couldn’t export for a week during the riots. “But luckily, our farm wasn’t damaged.” According to her, companies were attacked totally randomly. “Some companies that treat their employees very well, were targeted by the rebels nonetheless. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, because I have no idea whether things will stay calm in Ethiopia.”

    Bellaflor Group has a 46-ha farm in Ecuador and a 15-ha farm in Ethiopia. Bellaflor has a logistics company as well. They wanted to expand in Ethiopia, but that plan has been put on the back burner for now.

    Esmeralda Farms had been active in Ethiopia for a year and a half. They opened their branch there so that they could remain competitive on the European market. The first 25 ha went into production at the end of 2015. The 17 ha of polytunnels were mainly used to grow spray roses and outdoors, the main crop in the group of summer flowers was gypsophila.

    In South and Central America, Esmeralda produces in Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Mexico. Their head office is located in Miami. In addition to the farm in Ethiopia, they recently also closed down their office in Aalsmeer. This office in Aalsmeer celebrated its 25th anniversary not too long ago.


      If they were smart..they would take their losses. This country is too unpredictable from a political point of view. On the horizon, Kenya is not far off from this as political tensions continue to arise there !


      I do not think I want to dig to deeply into this one. There is an obvious disconnect between the total 10 million dollar loss reported by Esmeralda and the latest report that claims there was marginal damage.

      I can certainly appreciate the fear and uncertainly that led up to the decision to close both this farm and the office in Aaslmeer. We have seen this movie before in other countries and I agree that we have not seen the end yet. But flowers will find a way.

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