Mash Central Bureau
Luxaflor Roses, a horticultural concern in Concession which is exporting 30 to 35 million rose stems per year, earning US$8,2 million, is planning to increase production 10-fold to 300 million stems.
The company plans to achieve this by putting an additional 200 hectares under roses through a US$15 million investment.
The additional capacity will see the company increasing its export earnings to US$75 million, while creating 20 000 jobs, 13 000 directly and 7 000 indirectly.
Of the 200 hectares, 50 hectares will be developed on the farm, while the remaining 150 will be achieved through an out-grower scheme targeting mainly the youths and small-scale farmers.
Speaking during a tour of the farm by Minister of State in Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s office Dr Evelyn Ndlovu on Tuesday, Luxaflor chairperson Mr Yakub Mahomed said their vision was to grow the horticulture and floriculture industry and revive it to be one of the biggest earners of foreign currency.
“The 200 hectare rose project was approved and we are sourcing funds to kick-start the project,” he said. “Our aim is to complete 50 hectare project on the farm and 150 within the region, involving youths and small-scale farmers. Our annual production average is between 30 to 35 million stems of roses, which translates to 80 000 to 100 000 stems per day. Our exports are three times per week by air cargo. Our markets are Ireland, Europe. For our South African market its daily export by road transport to Johannesburg. We mainly focus on supermarkets and our current production cannot cope with the current demand.
“We are producing medium size roses and there is huge demand and market for our produce. We need to increase our hectares and green houses to cater for that demand.”
Luxaflor, said Mr Mahomed, entered into the command floriculture project, but the project is still in its infancy due to financial constraints.
The firm has installed a 500 unit solar plant with an output of 118 kilowatts per peak to facilitate expansion of rose production from 22 to 32 hectares.
Mr Mahomed said they were not greatly affected by Covid-19 except during the onset of the pandemic, where the market was lost due to travel restrictions.
“Floriculture is a luxury and due to Covid-19 most airlines had suspended operations,” he said. “However, we were fortunate in that we were able to export 60 percent of our product and after two months were back to 100 percent export because the markets of Germany and Sweden were still open.”
The firm has 42 varieties of roses, including one called “whatever” and one of their largest greenhouse covers three hectares.
Nyanga has high altitude that is ideal for the production of big head size roses demanded by the South Africa market and Luxaflor is eyeing setting up shop in the Eastern Highlands.
Dr Ndlovu said the investment ties in with Government’s drive to revive the horticulture industry.
“The horticulture industry is a labour and capital intense enterprise,” she said. “Government is reviving the industry and its value chain to ensure the country regains its niche market to earn foreign currency.
“Out-grower programmes need to be prioritised to ensure that smallholder farmers also take part in the production of flowers for export. Such an arrangement will not only create employment for our people, but also uplift quality and standard of living in pursuit of Vision 2030.”
Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs and Devolution Senator Monica Mavhunga, who was represented by director, Mr Admore Shereni said Luxaflor has great potential to boost the provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Growing of flowers is low as most farmers were concentrating on traditional crops,” he said. “Floriculture has high value return on investment.
“Luxaflor employ about 630 locals and 60 percent are women. We want them to develop capacity in our local farmers to participate in floriculture.”