ADDIS ABABA, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia's floriculture has been mitigating the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, head of the Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) told Xinhua in a recent interview.
EHPEA Executive Director Tewodros Zewdie said the sector is generating significant wealth for the national economy, while creating massive employment opportunities.
Acknowledging that COVID-19 initially posed existential threats on the very existence of the industry, the executive director said his association has taken pragmatic measures, managing not to have any layoff caused by the pandemic.
"If we look at the data of last year, it fetched nearly 500 million U.S. dollars," Zewdie said, adding that this has been mitigating the adverse effects of COVID-19.
Sintayehu Kebede, the general manager of a wholesale plant nursery in Holeta town, Oromia, told Xinhua that the farm is operating with 500 workers, while observing all COVID-19 protocols.
He said the farm is exporting to the Middle East, and to China.
"(The) majority of Chinese clients -- they like tinted gypsophila as their order -- we are making tinted and exporting. We have customers in China: Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai also."
Getish Desta, a rose gardening line manager, explained what they have been doing before and since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the country.
"I have been here working for about five years. We were alert and aware of the issue even before the first case was confirmed here in Ethiopia," said Getish, adding that they have been working with great care.
According to the executive director of the EHPEA, the country's floriculture sees a bright future for a number of reasons, including, among others, availability of ample fertile land, surface water, and proximity to potential markets as well as initiatives of the government.
Ethiopia, after Kenya, has become Africa's second largest flower exporter, according to the country's agriculture ministry. Enditem