Press Releases

• August 17, 2010 - Novelle Consulting Launches New Website
• August 16, 2010 - Erich Hinrichs and John Musser Join Novelle Consulting
• August 1, 2006 - Novelle Principal Awarded Presidential Volunteer Service Award
• December 20, 2005- Sonora State, Mexico Completes Phase I of Development Plan
• April 26, 2005 - PMA Addresses Consumption, Industry Trends with Retailers, Growers in Mexico
• April 18, 2005 - Novelle Assists State of Sonora in Five Year Plan
• June 3, 2004 - BC Hot House Chairman Al Vangelos Elected Russian Farm Project's Chairman of the Board

Novelle in the media

• April 22, 2009, The Packer - Vangelos named Produce Man for All Seasons
• April 10, 2006, The Produce News - Novelle Takes on Winogrond and Obregon as Two Senior Principals
• April 6, 2006, FreshPlaza - Novelle Adds Two New Senior Principals; Obregon and Winogrond
• July, 2005, Productores de Hortalizas - Agronegocios en Sonora
• May 1, 2005, The Produce News - Symposium Shines Spotlight on Sonora Agriculture

on the move

Novelle and Food Safety in Southeast Asia
Novelle and the Gates Foundation
Novelle and the World Bank in Malaysia
Novelle in Southern Sudan
Novelle in Georgia
Novelle in Indonesia
Novelle in Egypt
Novelle in Guatemala
Novelle in Central America
Novelle Consulting in Zambia
Novelle Consulting in the Balkans
Novelle's Indonesian Assignment
Novelle in Southern Africa
Novelle in former Soviet Union
Novelle and Work in Colombia
Bananas in Bangladesh
Vegetables in Moldova
Packing Plant in Moldova
Quality Control in Moldova

white papers

Fairtrade
Novelle Consulting and EUREPGAP
Moscow Supermarket Industry
The 5-Year Agricultural Business Development Plan for Sonora, Mexico
Marketing of Horticultural Produce in Asia-From Sonora Symposium

News


Novelle Consulting in Zambia

International donor agencies, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development and its counterparts in Europe and Japan, allocate tens of billions of dollars every year to developing countries to assist them in their efforts to lessen the burdens of poverty and hunger that too often predominate in much of Africa, Latin America, and parts of southern and central Asia. However, these funds are often tied to the utilization of resources from the donating country, and this can in turn lead to conflicts of interest that can cause more harm than good in the receiving country.

Novelle principal Henry Winogrond was requested to go to Zambia in January, 2005, to assess the economic prospects of the cut flower industry in Zambia. The cut flower industry around the world has been moving to the southern hemisphere for over three decades now, with ever increasing percentages of the cut flowers sold in the industrialized world of the northern hemisphere originating in Africa and Latin America, where superior growing conditions and reduced capital investment costs and labor costs more than offset the higher transportation fees. As an example, the cut flower industry began in Colombia only in 1970, and today, Colombia and Ecuador ( and to a smaller extent, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico ) supply over 80% of all of the cut flowers sold in North America.

The same general trends have been seen in East Africa. Kenya is now the third largest cut flower exporter in the world, with over 4,000 hectares of flowers being grown and shipped to Europe. Zimbabwe also had a vibrant and growing industry, until the recent political problems caused significant problems. Tanzania and Uganda also have small, but growing export businesses.

The cut flower industry was begun in Zambia in 1980 by some intrepid entrepreneurs, erecting a few hectares of greenhouses on their farms, and beginning to ship to Europe on their own. The industry got a significant boost several years ago when a European donor agency made funds available for the creation of approximately 20 new farms of two hectares each. However, the funds were tied to certain consulting companies, which in turn had close ties with cut flower breeding companies in their host country. This is always a cause for concern, as in the world of cut flowers, particularly in the Rose business, the cost of planting material can represent 50.0-65.0% of the total investment.

After spending a week in the Lusaka area visiting the farms that represented over 80% of the production capacity of the Zambian industry, Mr. Winogrond found the following:

  • The greenhouse recommendations were far too elaborate for existing conditions, and the new growers ended with unnecessarily expensive infrastructure.
  • Kenya has developed an extraordinary Rose industry, but the farms are located at altitudes of 1,700-1,800 meters. The farms in Zambia are at 900-1,300 meters, far too low to produce a high quality Intermediate Roses. As a result, the selling prices were far below those predicted by the consultants.
  • As the new growers did not know the industry, they simply accepted the Rose varieties supplied to them by the breeders with close ties to the consultants, and they ended with old varieties that had a diminished market value.

Based upon the above findings, the following recommendations made by Mr. Winogrond are now being implemented by the Zambia Export Growers Association, with assistance coming from USAID.

  • Given that 90% of the growers are still planted to Intermediate and Sweetheart Roses, a Rose production expert is being brought from California to Zambia for a week, to assist the growers with some immediate improvements in their agricultural and operational practices.
  • An expert familiar with African growing conditions will assess the local parameters in the Lusaka area ( soil, humidity, rainfall, etc. ) and recommend 5-10 new flower cultivars that will have a higher probability of economic success under local conditions than their Intermediate Roses. These varietal recommendations will be complemented by economic studies that will advise the Zambian growers, based upon Dutch auction market prices for the last three years, the expected return for them if they were to either convert their existing greenhouses to the new varieties, or if they were to expand and put up new greenhouses.
  • In addition, significant inefficiencies were found in the Zambian government export procedures. An expert in this area has already been brought in from Zimbabwe and made several recommendations to improve the process, and the Zambian Export Growers Association feels that there is a high probability of the government implementing these changes very soon.