At least ten others FDI farms damaged
A property of Esmeralda Farms BV, Dutch flower farm active in the global market and which has made investments on a flower farm near Bahir Dar, capital of the Amhara Regional State, has been set on fire and completely destroyed on Monday amid the ongoing protests and political unrest in the region. Whereas, information released from the regional government indicates that over half-a-billion birr investment projects have been vandalized during the same week in the same locality.
Meanwhile, reports of continued conflict and multiple causalities are emerging in connection with protest across the region following the Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn’s address on Tuesday saying that he has given the order to his security forces to contain the protest.
In a statement the company issued on Friday to its clients, it declared that EUR 10 million (USD 11.1 million) investment “went up in smokes” this week near Bahir Dar and that several other horticulture companies were also affected.
“I understand that now ten companies, mostly horticulture farms have been affected by the actions of groups that oppose the government. Now foreign investors that have had help from the government in setting up their business are at losing end. A few weeks ago, local businesses were affected that have links with the government. There were soldiers on our farm when the rebels came and they run away because the group was too large. Everything then was set on fire,” the statement said.
However, regional investment bureau announced on Thursday that over half-a-billion birr worth of properties belong to both local and foreign investors were damaged during the protest on Tuesday.
Apart from Esmeralda, Flower and Horticulture, farms in the area belonging to Italian, Belgian, Israeli, Indian and others have been damaged by the protest that happened on Monday and Tuesday.
According to the company’s statements, Esmeralda Farms has 150 hectares of land available in Ethiopia of which at the end of 2015 the first 25 hectares started production. In the 17 hectares foil greenhouse are grown mainly spray roses and outside Gypsophila and it is the largest crop from the group’s summer flower collection.
“Three times a week we got flowers in Aalsmeer from our location in Ethiopia. That was 30-40 percent of our turnover in Aalsmeer; the rest comes from our companies in South America. We can do nothing now, only wait until the circumstances and people are calm,” the company said.
The company also disclosed that the warehouse and cold storage rooms were built on the growth that the company wanted to make in the coming period in Ethiopia. “The tractors, trucks, containers, packaging hall are all burned. All irrigation pumps are damaged all crop have dried and the film (plastic) greenhouses have also suffered major damage, the statement discussed in detail. “Everything is gone. Ten million in investment and a lot of time and effort has gone up in smokes within a day. Fortunately, there was only one person wounded,” the company’s officials said in a statement.
Latest round of protests in Ethiopia have targeted some foreign businesses, according to reports and testimonies, while rights groups say that hundreds have been killed simmering conflict in the Amhara Regional State.
As the protest continues to spread since the beginning of the week, various conflicting reports are emerging claiming that clashes of protestors with security force to have caused multiple causalities in various districts of North Gondar and West Gojam zones of the region. However, the government is yet to disclose number of causalities of the protest.