City of Roses to reclaim its name

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PHOTO: CORN KOTELI

The last few decades Bloemfontein hasn’t quite lived up to its name as the “City of Roses”, but a young Bloemfontein business woman now wants to help the city return to its former glory.

Nelly Poonyane, managing director of De Plante Roses in Roodewal, has successfully launched a new agri project with the objective of producing high quality cut roses for the high-end market, using state-of-the-art facilities for meeting the demand.

Nelly Poonyane, managing director of De
Plante Roses. PHOTO: CORN KOTELI

Poonyane strongly believes that the rose project will contribute to the vibrant, dynamic and energetic character of tourism within the city. “This will help Bloemfontein to live up to its name as the City of Roses!”

After realising that Bloemfontein’s florists, retailers and wholesalers get their roses from Johannesburg and Cape Town, they decided to fill the gap by growing their own roses and supplying the city with the best quality of roses.

“It was during my time at the SA School of Weddings for a seven-day training course in flower arranging in 2018 that I noticed how excited I was seeing all the stores with different types of flowers. It was then that I started thinking about how I would love to know how flowers grow, and just like that, the seed was planted in my mind.”

De Plante Roses happens to be the first rose farm in Bloemfontein owned by a black woman. Poonyane said they ventured into this unique project in 2020. “One of our aims was to improve economic participation of women and youth within the agriculture sector, particularly in floriculture, improving skills development and ensuring economic participation as well as assisting in reducing the high unemployment rate in our community.”

She explained that the capacity for roses on the farm is currently 5000 and it is anticipated to grow to a figure of 20000 per month within the next five years. “This will constitute a potential contribution towards the export rose market from the Free State,” she added.

Poonyane is proud of the quality of the roses they produce, and this is all thanks to the system they are using as it gives them an added advantage. She explained their biggest challenge was accessing finance as they needed a lot of money to kick-start the project, which they were fortunate to secure. “What pushes me all the time, is the opportunity of doing something unique, something that will add value to the floriculture industry and potentially to the city as a whole since we are the City of Roses.”

What she would love most, is to scale up and expand the production of roses. “We are also looking at creating partnerships and networks everywhere we are operating, both internally and externally. These relationships include welfare committees within the farm, partnerships with local institutions like higher learning institutions, youth groups and the local government to build a stronger company, community and country.”

In the near future, De Plante Roses would like to have a state-of-theart agriculture academy with the world’s best technology to expose the youth to as the company seeks to ignite a passion for farming, “showing them that farming can be smart too”.

For more information, call De Plante Roses on 051 476 0202.

Corn Koteli

tshehla@mahareng.co.za