After last week’s strikes at nurseries in the Oromia region, things have calmed down again in Ethiopia. The government has declared a State of emergency. This was confirmed by various growers in the East African country.
The nurseries in Oromia were completely out of action for a couple of days because of the strikes. Transport wasn’t available either, which meant that flowers couldn’t reach the airport. Some nurseries were damaged.
Royal FloraHolland, which has many Ethiopian members, confirmed the situation. The majority of Ethiopian nurseries is located in the Oromia region and were affected. Some flowers were still exported from Ethiopia last Monday, but it was already very limited. Two days later, exports had come to a halt altogether. Because of the strikes, there were a couple of days when all the work at the nurseries was left undone.
By the end of last week, Royal FloraHolland received hardly any Ethiopian products. Last Monday, the number of Ethiopian flowers arriving at the auction was still small. As expected, this was followed by a few catch-up days later on in the week, when the auction was selling large quantities of Ethiopian flowers again.
After a period of growing protests, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam resigned and authorities declared a six-month State of Emergency on 16 February. The extent of the strikes, demonstrations and emerging ethnic violence, in combination with the sudden resignation of the Prime Minister, were the reason for government coalition EPRDF to declare a State of Emergency. At the moment, things are quiet in the largest part of the country.
Dutch Agricultural Counsellor in Ethiopia, Niek Bosmans, says that some Dutch companies were affected by the strikes, but have reopened by now. “However, a few companies did see some of their staff resign because of (the threat of) ethnic violence and harassment.”
A previous State of Emergency was declared in October 2016. That lasted for almost a year. The cause of the unrest is, just like 1.5 years ago, based on political and ethnic problems. A small tribe in the Tigray region holds the most important powerful functions. Larger tribes, such as Oromo and Amhara, would like to see this differently.