Overview of the sector 

  • Ethiopia provides the ideal condition for the horticulture sector.
  • The horticultural sector is composed of fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, and spices. Although the sector is only about a decade old, mechanized horticulture production has shown a great increase in farm number, revenue generation and volume of export.
  • International demand: Currently, over 130 international investors are operating in Ethiopia’s horticulture sector, exporting to the Netherlands, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Belgium, UAE, France, Japan Italy, and the United States, among others.

Key Reasons for Investing

  • Total land area available for horticulture is about 12,552 hectares, with only 11% of this land being developed for horticulture.
  • Ethiopia has diverse agro-climatic zones, long growing seasons, and availability of water for irrigation, including 122 billion cubic meters of surface water and 2.6 billion cubic meters of groundwater.
  • Horticulture is the fifth foreign revenue earner for Ethiopia, generating US$245 million in 2013/2014 compared to US$28.5 million in 2004/2005.
  • The industry creates over 180 thousand jobs, out of which 85% are for women – a section of the population that has been historically under-employed. 

Sources: Ethiopian Horticulture Producers & Exporters Association (EHPEA); EIC database of licensed projects; Embassy of Ethiopia in China; All Africa “Ethiopia: Revenue of Horticulture Export Increasing”, 26 December 2013.


Investment Opportunities 

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Mango, banana, papaya, avocado, citrus, grape, and pineapple are the most common tropical and sub-tropical fruits cultivated.
  • Pear and plum are emerging as temperate fruits.
  • The vegetables grown in Ethiopia include, among others, green beans, snow peas, broccoli, okra, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, green chili, potatoes, cabbages cauliflower, eggplant and cucumber, pepper, onion, and asparagus.
  • Much of the land available for growing fruits and vegetables are suitable for organic certification.


  • Ethiopia is the 4th largest non-EU exporter to the EU cut-flower market and the 2nd largest flower exporter from Africa (after Kenya), exporting to the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Norway, Sweden, UK, the Middle East, and other EU countries.
  • Floriculture has contributed to USD 212.56 million, or 80% of the total foreign revenue earning of the sector.
  • Roses are the most widely produced variety of flowers. Other types of flowers currently in production include gypsophilia, hypericum, limonium, chrysanthemum, carnations, static and pot plants.

Herbs and Spices

  • The major spices cultivated in Ethiopia are ginger, hot pepper, fenugreek, turmeric, coriander, cummin, cardamom, and black pepper.
  • Close to 122,700 hectares are being used for spice farming, with spice production reaching 244,000 tons per year.
  • Potential areas for the cultivation of spices are Amhara and Oromiya regions; Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region; and Gambella regions.
  • The total potential for low land spice farming is estimated to be 200,000 hectares.


Success Stories

Herburg logoHerburg Roses, a Dutch owned grower, recognized back in 2006 the opportunity to expand their business by relocating to Ethiopia. At that time, floriculture was in the very early stages of development in Ethiopia, but the conditions for growing roses were perfect, with year-round warmth and great light, and a large and enthusiastic workforce. Initially the business took on 18 hectares on the prestigious Sher Project in Ethiopia, and over the years has expanded to 40 hectares with more planned for the future. Herburg Roses has recently become Fairtrade certified and is exporting 22 types of flowers to the European market. Esmeralda logoEsmeralda Farms bought close to 150 hectares and started its flower growing activity in Ethiopia in early 2014. The company plans to grow summer flowers and some roses. Esmeralda farms headquarters are based in Miami, Florida. It has a 265 hectares flower producing area in Ecuador and is active throughout Latin America, in Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico. The move to Africa is due to the increasing production costs in Ecuador. Africa Juice logoWith global demand for tropical juices on the rise, in 2009 africaJUICE Tibila Share Company, a joint venture between africaJUICE BV of the Netherlands and the Ethiopian government, took operational control of Tibila Farm in Ethiopia’s Upper Awash Valley and started producing passion fruit, mangoes, papayas, and other tropical fruits. In addition to rehabilitating and expanding the newly acquired farm, africaJUICE has built a new fruit-processing facility with state-of-the-art processing, sterilization, and packaging equipment. The processed juice is exported through the port in neighboring Djibouti to markets in Europe and the Middle East. The company directly employs 2,400 people.

Sources: www.aldi.co.uk; Ethiosports, “Ethiopia Earns $245 Million from Horticultural Products”, August 4, 2014; International Trade Center, “Esmeralda Farms Starts Production in Ethiopia”, November 13, 2013; VC4Africa; MIGA, “Tropical Fruit Juice Project Helping to Spur Economic Revival in Ethiopia”, April 18, 2011.

Useful Links

Ethiopian Horticulture Producers & Exporters Association (EHPEA)

P.O. Box
Tel: 251-11-663 6750/663 6751
Fax: 251-11-663 6753
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency

Mexico Square, Coffee and Tea Bld., 1st Floor
PO Box: 43450
Tel: +251115513065
Fax: +251115513881