October 16, 2021

How Officials are turning Jos to a beautiful garden city

Governor Simon Lalong receives flowers produced in Jos

June 12, 2021: Global warming is increasing the demand for a green economy worldwide. Total export of flower bouquet were estimated at US$9.4 billion in 2019.

Overall, the value of flower bouquet exports increased by an average 25% for all exporting countries since 2015 when flower bouquet shipments were valued at $7.5 billion, World’s Top Exports website reports. Year over year, the value of globally exported flower bouquets rose by 1.8% from 2018 to 2019, says the WTE website.

Among countries that sold the highest dollar value worth of exported cut flowers in 2019, African exporters had 11.6% behind European and American exporters respectively.

However, in Africa, Kenya sold $709.4 million (7.5%), Ethiopia $241.3 million (2.6%) and South Africa $55.8 million (0.6%) of global flower bouquet, becoming the top three countries in Africa and the only three from the continent to make the world’s top 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of flower bouquets in 2019.

Flowers produced in Jos

Nigeria, Africa’s largest Nigeria has 37.3 arable land covering 34 million hectares: 6.5 million hectares for permanent crops, and 30.3 million hectares on meadows and pastures. This is more than the arable land in Kenya (10.2%), Ethiopia (14.3%) and South Africa (9.9%) put together. However, agriculture only accounts for 20% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, compared with the other three which have higher GDP ratings in agriculture.

Horticulture particularly is neglected in Nigeria. But some of the most exotic species of flowers farmed in Kenya originated from Jos, the capital of Central State of Plateau, said Governor of the State, Simon Lalong.

On Friday, during a tour of projects to mark Nigeria’s revised June 12 Democracy Day, Mr. Lalong said, “I went to Kenya and saw assorted species of flowers and when I asked where it came from, they said it came from somewhere in Central Nigeria. When I asked further, they said from Jos Plateau and I told them I am the Governor of that place. In the 70s and 80s, people came to us to look for flowers but now people are asking, where is the Jos flower?”

Flowers in Majesty Farms Jos

It was on this note that the Governor approved some incentives to farmers, including a horticultural farmer in the Jos area. “If we engage in farming, we don’t need oil. This will create jobs and reduce overdependence on oil revenue which is not sustainable,” said Mr. Lalong at the Majesty farms in Rayfield.

Majesty Farms only received a unit of drip irrigation facilities from the State government, but it has expanded from a small flower bed to a multi-specie garden covering several hectares, said Mr. Bulus Gwashi, the Chief Executive Officer of the farm.

Diverse species of flowers in Majesty Farms

“We started small and rough but the donation by the State Government has gotten us to a globally recognized level. We are already diversifying into different other crops like sweet corn, Irish potatoes and hybrid bananas, and have provided employment to many locals in the community,” said Mr. Gwashi.

But the demand for flowers worldwide “can never be satisfied,” Gwashi said. Hence, an Egyptian horticulturist, Mr. Ellio Faddoul is also getting government support to raise the horticultural profile of the State.

Faddoul, the CEO of Derby Farming and Agro Allied located in Lamingo, Jos, in April told the Governor that he had hired over 100 workers from Nigeria and Kenya to build a flower exporting farm in Jos. The farm was officially launched during Lalong’s tour of projects on Friday.

Many other flower farms exist in Jos, but many consumers still import flowers, a huge threat to the local industry. But if supported, Majesty and Derby farms alone have huge potential to transform the hilltop city of Jos to a modern green economy, which is safer and more inhabitable worldwide.