Uganda’s richest man Sudhir Ruparelia has toured several areas in Masaka district with an aim of acquiring land to expand on his investments in the growth and exportation of flowers and vegetables.
Sudhir, who was accompanied his son Rajiv Ruparelia and other mangers of Ruparelia group toured several areas to find out the fertility of the soil before acquiring it.
Sources say the land is fertile and suitable for both flowers and vegetables.
Sudhir runs two floriculture companies in Entebbe, Wakiso district — Rosebud Limited and Premier Roses.
It should be noted that last month Sudhir visited Baale village in Kayunga District where he is set to “acquire about 9 square miles of land” to expand his floriculture business.
His two companies produce a large variety of flowers including Seetheart Roses; Valentino (dark red), Viva (bright yellow), Chelsea (orange), Red Calypso (bright red), Meera (champagne), Akito (white) and Blushing Akito.
Rosebud and Premier are the biggest exporters of flowers in Uganda, exporting over 180 million stands per year to over 10 countries and employing over 5000 Ugandans at the moment.
In October 2017, the two companies were officially granted a free zone developers license by Uganda Free Zone Authority (UFZA), implying that they now export flowers without paying any taxes.
Uganda has been involved in commercial floriculture for more than 20 years.
This commodity is ranked among the top non-traditional export earner of the country.
Because of this, Uganda has been ranked the fifth largest flower producer in Africa.
So far the total investment is more than US$80 million (Shs 292.5 billion). More than $20 million is directed back into the economy through taxes, wages, and infrastructure development.
The industry employs about 8,500 people, with 80 per cent female.
The country has about 15 flower farms with 250 production area. This makes it an average of 30 people per hectare.
Figures from Uganda Flower Exporters Association (UFEA) indicate that in 2015 Uganda through UFEA members exported 6,300 tonnes of flowers worth $27.5 million and in 2016 UFEA exported more than 6,500 tonnes of flowers.