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Dutch flower exports were down by over a quarter in March (Floral Daily, 11 May),with the export value of horticultural products such as flowers, plants, bulbs and nursery products declining by 22% year-on-year. The export of cut flowers dropped by 26%. The largest decline was seen in horticultural exports to Italy. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of provisional figures. In 2019, horticultural exports reached a value of €9.5 billion, making horticulture the single largest industry in Dutch agricultural exports.
Ethiopia has lost about US$25 million from the horticulture sub-sector since the outbreak of COVID-19, according to the Ethiopian Horticulture Producer-Exporters Association (EHPEA) (Floral Daily, 11 May). EHPEA Executive Director Tewodros Zewdie said “this year’s peak season has been compromised a lot. But we are exerting relentless efforts to minimize the impact and not to lay off workers.” Horticulture companies have had to finance a number of costs, including labour, fertilisers and chemicals, without sales proceeds. Rescheduling bank loans, financing interests on principal loan, and temporary suspension of the 3.8 dollar payment for every kilogram flower exported are among the encouraging measures taken by the government, Tewodros pointed out. Ethiopia has exported worth $400 million horticulture during the first nine months of the current budget year of Ethiopia, which began July 8, 2019 (New Business Ethiopia, 11 May). Currently some 60% of the flower growers in Ethiopia are engaged in export, which was initially affected by the global pandemic. Ethiopia’s flower export is growing amid COVID-19. Following the decline of passenger flights after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, Ethiopian Airlines was focusing on cargo services. It has recently announced converting its several passenger airplanes into cargo planes.
Kenya’s flower industry continues to struggle with the impacts of the pandemic. According to the Kenya Flower Council, demand for cut flowers in the international market has begun to rise, with export demand hitting 3,500 tons per week (CNBC Africa, 11 May). However, the available freight capacity cannot accommodate the rise in volume demand, as it stands at only 1,300 tons for all commodities; flowers, vegetables, and fish.
Network Aviation Group added extra B747F capacity to meet the demand for Mother’s Day flowers out of Nairobi. The aircraft was loaded to max payload with 100 tonnes of fresh-cut flowers bound for Liege, ready for onward trucking across Europe into various towns and cities (Floral Daily, 12 May). Network Airline Management not only carried flowers into Europe and the UK for Mother’s Day back in March and May 2020 but also made additional capacity available to help those who have lost loved ones during the Coronavirus pandemic. The efforts are part of a wider campaign dubbed ‘Flowers of Hope’ – a campaign to help those come to terms with the realities of how COVID-19 is impacting world populations and their families.
Dutch export support network Agroberichten Buitenland provides an overview of useful information intended for everyone involved with agribusiness in Kenya (Floral Daily, 11 May).
The Kenyan Ministry of Health is the main source of information regarding COVID-19 in Kenya. It publishes a daily update on the spread of the virus and communicates the most important information regarding containment of the virus on their COVID-19 page.
For Dutch entrepreneurs doing business in African countries, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency provides an overview of useful information in Dutch.
A number of frequently asked questions for entrepreneurs are provided by the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency here.
The Kenya Private Sector Alliance has opened a 24-hour call center and information portal for businesses. You can find more information on their website.
This website gives an overview of information provided by the Government of Kenya on COVID-19 related measures, created by the Netherlands Embassy.