Selecta Holland invests in horticulture in Ethiopia

Atradius news

Selecta Holland, from Maasland, was established in December 1986 and is active in the production and propagation of its own improved pot plants and cut flowers.

The company is a subsidiary of Selecta One, based in Stuttgart, and has been active in ornamental plant cultivation since 1950. The Selecta Group is one of the world leaders in breeding, producing, and marketing cultivated ornamental plants.


Duct horticulture innovation in Ethiopia


In the Dutch facility, 14 people are working on the plant cuttings' sales, marketing, and distribution. The plant cuttings are grown at various locations worldwide and from the Maasland branch they are shipped for further cultivation to growers in the Benelux and England. The cuttings mainly concern poinsettias and geraniums.

The Selecta Group already has several greenhouses where cuttings are grown. However, to further expand the capacity, Selecta Holland started the construction of a new greenhouse in Ethiopia in 2021. It concerns an investment through subsidiary Selecta Ethiopia PLC. on a piece of land that is zoned for horticulture. The location of this land is west of Gojam Zone, near Kunzila Town, on Lake Tana. Here, mainly cuttings of geraniums, poinsettia, and Spanish daisies will be grown. In addition, the production of ornamental plant cuttings is done in greenhouses equipped with a hydroponic system.

The greenhouse complex being built has an area of 60 ha. The government owns the land, and a lease period of 30 years has been agreed upon. The infrastructure investment is planned for 20 hectares. The farm will first start with 9 hectares of greenhouses, after which 3 hectares of greenhouses will be added according to market demand. After the mentioned 20 hectares, there is still land available for further expansion. The decision was made to expand in steps because there is not enough trained personnel available. Selecta will train the staff itself, which cannot be done in one go. In addition, a demand must be created for the cuttings. The water from Lake Tana feeds the hydroponic system for the greenhouses. The lake is located about one km from the farm. Due to closed greenhouse construction, all the greenhouses are connected by clean paths. This also applies to the cold stores and hygiene rooms with the greenhouses. The Ethiopian company to be established will import the required starter plants from its European production sites.


Select Holland innovation in Ethiopia


The new nursery will provide a substantial increase in employment in the region. At the start, it will employ about 600 workers. Should more land be used, this number could rise to 1,500 FTEs. The water purification and cultivation techniques are mainly coming from the Netherlands. Ethiopia has an excellent climate for growing cuttings in greenhouses. The air is very dry to regulate the internal environment of the greenhouses very well. The farm is led by Dries Eikens. He is the General Manager of Selecta Ethiopia. He divides his time between the office in the Netherlands and the nursery in Ethiopia.


Selecta opts for sustainable solutions with new long-term investments as much as possible. Dries Eikens: "The cuttings must be watered with water that is of drinking quality. The location near Lake Tana ensures a sufficient supply of clean water. But the water in the greenhouses is also re-circulated. This means that the water with fertilisers is collected and then disinfected. This is done with ozone because it ensures that the fertilisers remain in the water. To ensure a constant temperature, solar collectors store heat during the day that keeps the greenhouses warm at night. The company is therefore not dependent on fossil fuels."

Investment insurance The project of Selecta Holland concerns an investment of the Dutch company in a new location in Ethiopia. This means that we can only cover the political risk for Selecta. After all, the Dutch company has better insight into (and can manage) the payment options of the Ethiopian branch than Atradius. With investment insurance, a Dutch company has the option of covering several political risks such as expropriation, transfer restrictions, (civil) war, including other forms of violence. Furthermore, if desired, the risk of breach of contract can also be insured.


The cover policy on Ethiopia has recently been changed to 'cover by exception' due to the civil war that is currently going on. In this case, we were able to cover this investment insurance under the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF). (Ethiopia is one of the 70 countries this fund can provide cover). This investment of Selecta Holland meets the required development aspects. As can be read above, the new agricultural complex will create jobs for the local population. Also, knowledge and skills are transferred because the latest technologies are used.


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