With the increased awareness of ethical standards across the industry and the local capacity to support farms in achieving compliance, the Ethiopian Floriculture industry is now in a better position to access international markets and be recognised as a robust industry to source from.
Ethiopia is the world’s 4th largest supplier of cut flowers. The lowlands and highlands offer ideal conditions for a wide range of flowering plants, long hours of sunshine and ample supply of fresh water enable roses, gypsophilia, hypericum, limonium, carnations and chrysanthemum to flourish. Over 85% of cut flowers are exported to Europe with floriculture accounting for 8% of export earnings and employing 85,000 Ethiopians.Despite phenomenal growth and job creation, the industry has been criticised for poor working conditions on some farms. From 2011 to 2013, Partner Africa collaborated with Finlays, Marks & Spencer and The Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) to develop a programme that would enable producers to meet internationally recognised ethical standards, thereby improving conditions for workers, whilst also meeting the needs of European buyers. Partner Africa was involved in training, project management and the monitoring and evaluation of this project.Initially, ethical standards were developed within the EHPEA. The standards were benchmarked against Global Gap Standards to improve access to European markets.
Partner Africa helped develop a training programme that could be easily adopted by the EHPEA, thereby developing the capacity of a local team to deliver high quality training across the industry to achieve sustainable practices. Specific activities included:
An independent review (by Imani Development) concluded that overall the project was a success, with farm level training being ‘beneficial in raising social, environmental and production standards on farms, in particular the module ‘Improving Workplace Communication’ has positively impacted worker- management relations’.