Friday, 16 Jan. 2015
Production Manager Josephine Drijaru of
Jambo Farms explaining how her flowers are cultivated
Mr Varghese, Farm Manager of Jambo Flower
The packing workers having a late
afternoon football match
Identification sheets for
staff to catch the bugs
Next stop, Entebbe airport
The International Trade Centre (ITC) helps flower
producers in Uganda cut emissions to meet sustainability standards. In 2014,
the Trade and Environment Programme (TEP) launched its Product Carbon Footprint
(PCF) project designed to reduce the carbon emission in Uganda's flower sector
and hence farms' reduce energy costs. PCF audits were conducted for six flower
farms. This allowed for a better analysis and knowledge sharing of the
potential to reduce the farms' total PCF and so strengthen their
Jambo Flower Farms is situated 30 minutes
drive out of Kampala, the capital of Uganda and produces cut roses for the
high-end European market. Jambo employs 450 people and has a turnover of
USD4.3m. The industry as a whole has a turnover of USD 18m. However, it faces a
new threat to their business – a pest made more prevalent by climate change is
threatening access to their only market the EU.
The EU is now inspecting
all imports of flowers from Uganda for this pest. According to Jambo, there is
the risk that they may close the market entirely to Ugandan flowers. Last
month, the local press reported that industry has survived
a ban for the time being. Mr Varghese, the Farm Manager of Jambo says they
understand why the EU wants to protect its industry from the pest, but are
unsure of what the EU is going to do. Closing the market “can destroy the
industry” says the manager. They are 100% dependent on the EU market staying
open as there is no domestic market to sell the flowers. Their business would
be ruined if the market closes.
Two species of moth have in the last
three years been increasingly found on the crop due to increasing temperatures.
One moth, called Helicoverpa armigera ruins the appearance of the
rose, which means they have to be thrown out. The other moth Spodoptera
litteralis has more serious implications for the
business.Twice this year the EU inspectors have found the moths and
destroyed the consignments. The EU inspectors charge the firm for the
destruction and ongoing inspections.
The pest is already imposing costs
on the business in Uganda. According to the Field Manager, out of the 140,000
stems produced a day, 4,000 are discarded due to the bug infestations. This
year, the company has had to employ 10% extra staff to check for eggs on the
There is no pesticide currently available that kills the eggs.
As a result, Josephine Drijaru, the production manager has her own method to
hunt and kill the caterpillars. Her “scouts” in the greenhouses spot the eggs
under the leaves. She takes some to her office and puts them in a jar. When
they hatch, she orders the crop to be sprayed. However, the risk remains that
another consignment could arrive in the Netherlands with infestation.
Climate change induced pests and diseases are raising the cost of
agri-business in Africa. This is an example of how 450 employees of one firm
are now in a highly vulnerable situation. In the short term, the firm has no
choice but to continue producing one crop for one market. In the longer term,
the industry will have to diversify and find technical solution to adapt its
production to climate change.