Between July 2017 and March 2018, flowers worth $2.8 million were exported, officials from National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) said on Monday.
The officials said the volume of flower exports have increased from the previous exports worth $ 1.2million in the 2016-2017 fiscal year and they are expected to increase thanks to more investments that are coming in.
The figures were shared during the export promotion ceremony at Japanese ambassador's residence for the first Made-in-Rwanda flowers called 'Gentian' which will next month start to be exported to Europe.
The flower project in Rwanda was established with partnership from Hachimantai city in Japan and is operated by Bloom Hills Rwanda Ltd.
It aims at exporting 430,000 stems per season to Amsterdam by 2020.
According to Amb. George Kayonga, the chief executive officer of NAEB, the investment will be contributing to doubling flower exports from Rwanda by building solid flower industry.
"After one year and three months of trials, now gentian flowers are growing well in Rwanda and it is demanded by the European market. They are going to start exporting next month. The project is expected to expand since the trials were carried out on four hectares and will next year cover all 10 hectares we provided. One stem of gentian flower exported is bought at between Rwf500 and Rwf700," he said.
He said the first export target will be worth 400,000 Euros.
The project is currently employing 50 Rwandan workers and will increase them to 100 workers next year meaning that it is part of promoting Made-in-Rwanda products and exports sector while creating more jobs to Rwandans, he said.
Shungo Harada, the Managing Director of Bloom Hills Rwanda LTD, the firm that is growing the gentian flowers in Nyacyonga wetland in Gsabo District, said the huge volume of exports will be made in November, adding that there is market demand from Europe where Rwanda will be sole supplier of Gentian because of Europe's winter season when there is no supply from other countries.
"Rwanda has moderate and constant climate conditions for Gentian growing. The first commercial export are 430,000 stems per season for 2019-2020 and for 2020-2021 while they will increase to 1,000,000 for 2021-2022. We will also develop new varieties," he said.
The Minister for Agriculture, Geraldine Mukeshimana, said: "We are happy to see that these flowers are adapting to Rwanda's climate and meeting export quality.
She noted that more efforts and investments are needed to increase volume and value of exports.
We need more investment for sustainable development through private sector, she added.