Floribusiness Blogs Things have calmed down in Ethiopia

Things have calmed down in Ethiopia

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On Friday, all subscribers to Vakblad voor de Bloemisterij will have the first ever Floribusiness magazine delivered to them. This special edition is an introduction to the digital magazine that’s going to be published once every two months.

Floribusiness will mainly focus on the distribution markets for plants and flowers. But of course, we’ll also report on production areas, cultivation, technology and human interest. The magazine will contain contributions from both our own editors and correspondents.

In the first magazine, you’ll find an article on Ethiopia, written by my colleague Hans Neefjes. His article is based on telephone interviews and his own knowledge. I can assure readers that people in the country are confirming what he wrote. I am currently spending a week in Ethiopia and Kenya at the invitation of Florensis. After my arrival yesterday, I set off for a first tour around the nurseries earlier today.

And indeed, the people here in Ethiopia were telling me that things have calmed down now, after the unrest caused by tribal fights earlier this year. Luckily, the riots weren’t as violent as in 2016, but still… They also agree that good communication with local and federal authorities can help protect companies against these riots.

What they seem to want most of all though, is to put an end to the idea of Ethiopia as a dry and poor country. The truth is that it has a large highland area; lush and with the perfect growing conditions for crops such as flowers. Many of the companies are under foreign management, and they don’t come to Ethiopia to live in luxury. Their presence benefits staff and entire villages, as they provide health care, education and employment of course. And that’s the number one thing this country is looking for: less unemployment.

Without going into the details of the tribal disputes, I can tell you that that’s another high-priority topic for new prime minister Abiy Ahmed. He wants to look ahead and leave the past behind. More democracy is part of this. The Ethiopians are already feeling freer to speak up than ever before. Hopefully this will help prevent any further riots.

But like I said, you’ll be able to read all these things in the new Floribusiness magazine on Friday. So, what’s the use of my blog? Well, I’ve got some news to report. An attack on the American embassy in Addis Ababa was foiled this afternoon.

Our van with Florensis visitors was stopped when one of the passengers was spotted taking a picture of the American embassy. The photographer was taken in for questioning and half an hour later, after the picture had been deleted, and he’d left behind his personal data and mobile phone number, he was released. It turned out that, because of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, taking pictures was particularly sensitive.

I’m afraid I can’t include an image of the embassy with the American flag flying at half mast with this blog. The picture was – as I explained above – deleted.

Peter van Leth

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