Swaziland - EUR 6 million to Promote Flower Exports
Important Social Accountability Actions
Tunis, 21 July 2006 – The African Development Bank, through its private sector window, in Tunis today approved a loan of 6.4 million Euros to Fabulous Flowers Swaziland PTY Ltd (FFS) with a view to promoting the floriculture sector in Swaziland and contributing to economic growth in the country through private sector development.
The project will not only result in increased agricultural output, outgrowers’ incomes and foreign exchange generation, but also improve social accountability.
The project, which will establish 20 hectares of greenhouses for the cultivation of roses, seeks to produce, at full operating capacity, 44 million roses stems per annum and 22 million stems of supplementary plants. The products will be destined for export with the bulk going to the European Union market, which is the world’s leading importer of cut flowers with imports totalling Euro 3.1 billion in 2004.
The project will have a strong development impact. At the local level, it will be one of the largest single employers in the Middleveld region, providing direct jobs to 350 workers. It will further support 40 outgrowers with plans to expand the outgrower scheme in subsequent phases. The outgrowers, will be provided regular training to enhance their skills.
The project will have a substantial impact on women. Women will constitute about 75% of the workforce and will be actively engaged in all aspects of the operations from planting to pruning to harvesting as well as grading and packaging. Women will further participate in the outgrower scheme. The project will encourage women to set up shops to sell some of the supplementary flowers in the local market. FFS will generate spin-off effects, including the creation of income generating activities for women in the local communities concerned. These activities will include: dress making and the setting up of small restaurants.
FFS will provide training to its workers as well as the outgrowers to enhance their skills and productivity. The training will focus on the various production and handling techniques. Whenever appropriate, it will involve study trips to Bostwana to understudy FFB operations.
At the national level, the project will generate tax revenue in excess of Euro 350,000 per annum for the State for most of the project life. The project will also contribute to foreign exchange earnings and thereby improve the balance of payment of the country.
FFS will further strengthen its community development initiatives in the project area. The Lamgabhi community has no clinic and the nearest health facility is at Mankayane, which is 25 km away. The project, therefore, intends to provide an on-site clinic to cater for the health needs of its staff and their dependents. The project will further support other income generating activities such as dress making, setting up small restaurants for the local communities.
Fabulous Flowers will establish a fund to organize HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programme for its staff as well as the community. The Company will contribute about Euro 150,000 each year into the Fund over the project life. Activities under the HIV/AIDS programme will focus on education - through seminars, brochures, TV documentaries and radio programmes. It will also provide counselling, encourage the concept of Abstinence, Being Faithful and Condom Use (ABC), support anti-retroviral treatment and further support orphans and vulnerable groups.
The floriculture industry in Africa is fast expanding and given Swaziland’s conducive climatic conditions, the profitability of the industry and the potential development impact, the ADB decided to support such ventures.