A man picks yellow flowers at a flower farm in Kampala. PHOTO/COURTESY

Uganda’s flower exports recorded the highest earnings ever despite the Covid-19 pandemic, latest statistics show.

According to data from Bank of Uganda, flower exports posted $7.15m (about Shs25.3b) in June 2021, up from $3.24m (Shs11.5b) earned in March 2020.

Bank of Uganda states that in June 2021, more than 769 tonnes of flowers were exported compared to 412 tonnes in March last year.

According to the report, while $6.04m (Shs22.3b) worth of flowers was exported in June 2020, this declined to $4.5m between July 2020 and January 2021.

According to the Uganda Flowers Export Association, the record June performance was a result of easing of lockdowns in Europe and North America, the major destinations of the flowers. 

Ms Esther Nekambi, the Uganda Flowers Export Association executive director, is quoted by Daily Monitor as saying that the recovery has been supported by improvement in flights, especially cargo.  

However, Ms Nekambi said the flower industry continues to grapple with many challenges among which include high electricity bills, which average between Shs25m and Shs30m per month for large producers. 

Uganda’s floriculture exports consist of two products: cut flowers and cuttings. Kenya, the world’s third-largest flower exporter, earns about 10 times from flower sales as Uganda.

The industry currently employs over 9,000 people in Uganda, mostly rural workers. Up to 70% of them are women, with an estimated 60,000 individuals benefitting directly or indirectly from it.