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This success has prompted investment in other developing countries, such as Ethiopia, who see export horticulture as an increasingly important component of their agricultural economy, and a major force for sustained rural development. The cool climate in the Ethiopian highlands is ideal for production of roses and other high-value cut flowers. Greenhouse production capacity is expected to increase 3-4 fold in the next 1-2 years alone. A vibrant greenhouse industry will provide business and employment opportunities in areas traditionally under-served by industrial developments in larger population centers. Greenhouse production is the pinnacle of intensive agriculture,with large amounts of high-value plant material grown in a relatively small area. The income-generating potential of greenhouse grown cut flowers far exceeds that of any traditional field crop in Ethiopia. Furthermore in protected agriculture, the growing season is extended far beyond that feasible for many field crops. Conditions are optimized for plant growth, but these also favor the rapid increase of pest populations and spread of diseases. Pest control strategies are heavily reliant upon chemical pesticides, and toxic materials with long residuals are commonly used. But this is neither sustainable nor desirable from an economic, human-health or environmental perspective.
Currently, Ethiopian cut flowers are primarily sold to retailers in Italy, but access to other countries in Europe, and emerging markets in Asia and the middle East will be required to sustain the current rate of industry growth. Production of high-quality, pest-free and pesticide residue-free flowers will be essential to maintain and increase this access, necessitating change in crop protection strategies to ones that are based upon the use of cultural and biological controls.