ARUSHA: FORMER Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn has pledged to support government efforts to revive a multi-million-dollar flower industry, offering a ray of hope to the Arusha population.
During the hey-days, the flower industry in Arusha used to bring in 24.4 million US dollars in export value, per annum, more than 4,000 jobs to locals, let alone other related taxes and the benefits to the rural economy.
In his recent tour to the defunct flower estates in Usa-river, Arumeru District, led by Arusha Region Commissioner, Mr John Mongella, the former Ethiopian premier, promised to extend a helping hand to revamp the flower industry.
Mr Desalegn, a strategic advisor to President Samia Suluhu Hassan for the agriculture sector, expressed his willingness to support Tanzania’s initiatives to give a new lease of life to the redundant, but potential flower farms.
“The horticultural industry in Ethiopia is a success story. I can use my experience and networks to help you revamp the non-operational flower farms,” Mr Desalegn told the Arusha Regional Commissioner.
The African renowned agricultural revolutionist, pleaded with Mr Mongella to prepare for him a blueprint with clear requirements for him to use as a guide to revive the flower plantations.
The success of Ethiopia’s horticultural industry is incomplete without mentioning Mr Desalegn, who was a prime minister between 2012 and 2018.
He built his legacy, supported by an increasingly accommodating international community and changing investor’s mindset.
Ethiopia had to offer subsidies, generous credit schemes, 100 per cent exemption from payment of duties on imported capital goods and raw materials coupled with a five-year tax holiday on profits.
Official data shows that Ethiopia exported more than 215,800 tonnes of horticulture products to the international market, generating over 514 million US dollars in the final nine months of the fiscal year 2023.
Exports of flowers accounted for almost 444 million US dollars in revenue, while exports of vegetables and fruits brought in 57 million US dollars and 13.3 million US dollars, respectively, government statistics indicate.
Mr Mongella overwhelmingly received Mr Desalegn’s pledge, saying it does not only offer a fresh impetus to Tanzania’s efforts to recover the flower industry but also signals fortunes to the local economy.
“We’re so delighted to see the influential former prime minister of Ethiopia’s willing heart to support our mission to revive the defunct flower farms and restore the local population’s hope,” Mr Mongela explained.
Briefing the former Ethiopian PM, the RC said the defunct flower estates used to generate multi-million dollars and create thousands of employment opportunities for women and youths in particular.
Mr Mongella recalled the better days when the once lucrative flower plantations earned the economy 24.45 million US dollars annually, created 4,010 jobs directly and 40,000 others indirectly as it generated 800,240 US dollars worth of government taxes and stimulated the rural economy.
TAHA Chief Development Manager, Mr Anthony Chamanga said they could not wait to see these farms become operational once again to leapfrog other local businesses, recoup thousands of lost jobs, and spawn the much-needed revenues in the economy.