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Showing posts from February 17, 2008 - Flowers are sign of economic change in Ethiopia - Flowers are sign of economic change in EthiopiaPictures of emaciated children dying in their mothers' arms during Ethiopia's famine in 1985 cemented the country's image as a barren land where nothing grows.

But just 30 minutes south of the capital, Addis Ababa, green hills and lush valleys abound, perfect for cultivating the country's fastest growing export - flowers.

Tsegaye Abebe opened his farm, ET Highland Flora, three years ago. Now, he employs 400 people and exports 90,000 to 120,000 stems every day. At this time of year, he is busy.

"The biggest of all is Valentine's Day," he said as workers harvested roses in one of his 23 greenhouses, each containing around 35,000 stems. In the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day, Ethiopia exports six planeloads, or more than two million stems, daily, he said.