Rajiv Ruparelia, one of the directors of Rosebud Limited and Premier Roses, Uganda’s leading floriculture companies is in China to promote the country’s flowers.
Located in Entebbe, Wakiso district, Rosebud Limited and Premier Roses are under the Ruparelia Group of Companies founded by tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia.
Speaking to the press at the ongoing the Flower Trade Fair in China, Rajiv said they are looking at expanding the export of flowers to Uganda.
He added that they currently supply flowers to the European market.
“I am in China to promote our roses which we grow in Uganda. We have eight hectares and green houses; we produce half a million roses a day,” Rajiv said.
“We are now looking at supplying our roses to China. We see a huge potential [in China],” he added.
He revealed that their flowers are unique compared to others in the market.
“We have 16 different colours and varieties. We guarantee our roses for 10 days at the time they arrive in China,” he said, adding that they pride themselves in consistent supply and quality assurance.
The expo has also been attended by top government officials including Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
Rosebud and Premier produce a large variety of flowers including but not limited to Seetheart Roses; Valentino (dark red), Viva (bright yellow), Chelsea (orange), Red Calypso (bright red), Meera (champagne), Akito (white) and Blushing Akito.
The two companies 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 (Shs292.5 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.