By Mable Nakibuuka
City mogul Dr Sudhir Ruparelia, the proprietor of Rosebud Flower Farm, has donated packaging machines and other equipment to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) Endpoint Inspection Area at Entebbe International Airport.
The equipment was received by Paul Mwambu, the Commissioner for Crop Inspection and Certification, who said that the new Endpoint Inspection Area will increase the competitiveness of agricultural exports from Uganda in markets abroad.
Mwambu had led a team of inspectors to Entebbe International Airport to inspect flowers from Sudhir’s Rosebud Flower Farm which were due for export.
Mwambu revealed that prior to being checked using the high-tech machines like microscopes, the products are checked for any visible signs of crop pests by Crop Inspection and Certification experts. The agricultural produce currently up for inspection include; fresh cut flowers, fruits and vegetables.
Mwambu said that; “This additional Endpoint Inspection Area was set up in accordance with Section 24 of the Plant Protection and Health Act 2015 which allows for provision of suitable areas for office, inspection and destruction facilities at harbors and airports among other areas.”
“We are currently using secure ICT-enabled approaches. On the 22nd of July this year we launched the e-phyto system which is an electronic system for issuance of phytosanitary certificates,” Mwambu added.
He noted that the initiative is being undertaken as a collaboration between the government of Uganda, international community and the private sector.
While handing over the equipment, Sudhir, who hailed the MAAIF for such an initiative, said that; “As exporters we are organized in our Associations where we make sure that everyone complies with the regulations and standards. We welcome these steps taken by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries as our regulator.”
During the inspection of the new Endpoint Inspection Area, the Private Sector was represented by Management Teams of member companies of the Uganda Flower Exporters Association.
Based in Entebbe, Uganda, Rosebud Ltd is the country’s largest exporter of roses, commanding around 40% of Uganda’s raised export market. The green houses on the farm cover a total of 50 hectares producing and exporting over 12 million stems per month.
These stems, due to the favourable weather conditions experienced throughout the year, result in their all being of the same high standard. Rosebud Ltd solely specializes in the production of quality cut roses for export onto the world market.
The greenhouses are irrigated by a modern, automated water-pumping unit, which feeds our fully computerized hydroponics systems.
The following two categories of roses are produced: Sweetheart Roses; Valentino (dark red), Viva (bright yellow), Chelsea (orange), Red Calypso (bright red), Meera (champagne), Akito (white), Blushing Akito (pink), Raspberry King (dark red), Jambo (bright red) and Intermediate Roses; Ace Pink (pink), Bella Rose (pink), Sunny Star (yellow), Furiosa (dark red), Tropical Amazone (orange), Banjo (pink), Labelle (peach), Sorraya (yellow), Athena (white).
Rosebud Limited, the largest exporter of Sweetheart cut, is a flagship company of Ruparelia Group of companies owned and managed by Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia.
The farm has steel structures and a 100% Hydroponics system supported by a fully automatic centralized irrigation system.
The farm produces approximately 40% of total Ugandan flower exports. Rosebud Limited is in the process of expanding up to 65 hectares of green houses for the targeted export of 15 million stems per month.