Navigating challenges in Ethiopian flower pricing

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Recently, Ethiopian flower producers and exporters have found themselves describing their position in the global flower market with a sense of frustration and inevitability. They see themselves not as price makers but as price takers, compelled to accept the market’s dictates rather than set their own terms. This dynamic plays out vividly in global marketplaces like FloraHolland, where a multitude of buyers and sellers converge from every corner of the world.

Here, European wholesalers, breeders, and re-exporters—equipped with patents, remote buying technology, value-addition capabilities, sophisticated logistics, and marketing acumen—wield the significant influence that often positions them as price makers. In such a setting, the leverage of any single country’s sellers is indeed minimal.

The ramifications of this dynamic are stark for Ethiopian flower producers and exporters. They feel ensnared in a scenario where competing on the global stage seems increasingly untenable unless there’s a recalibration of the existing legal minimum floor price set by the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE). This unease was less pronounced until FloraHolland introduced a new standard requiring flower exporters to establish their own minimum selling prices, based on their cost structures and overall strategic considerations.

However, there’s a strong counter-narrative challenging the exporters’ claims. Critics argue that the issue of under-invoicing is widespread. They contend that the value of flowers repatriated to Ethiopia is significantly underreported compared to the actual market value.


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