10 February 2013

Ethiopia: U.S. Launches Commercial Farm Service Programme

The United States government through USAID launched a Commercial Farm Service Program last week.

The new two-year program, which is part of President Obama's Feed the Future Initiative in Ethiopia, will provide grants and training to rural entrepreneurs, both men and women, to help create one wholesale and six retail farm service centres (FSCs) designed to meet the operational needs of farmers.

The FSCs will reach at least 30,000 smallholder farmers inOromiaRegionalState, according to a press release issued by the United States Embassy in Addis Abeba.

FSCs are medium to large-scale suppliers that provide an array of agricultural supplies, or inputs, such as fertilisers, seeds, agricultural tools and other equipment. Each FSC comes equipped with a training facility where farmers can receive professional technical assistance. FSCs also extend credit to farmers, enabling them to procure high quality inputs that lead to increased production and profits, according to the press release.

The Commercial Farm Service Program will also help establish a wholesale buying cooperative, owned by and dedicated to serving the FSCs and link them to national and international suppliers.

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