Traders, processors complain about lack of services The Ministry of Industry (MoI) has ambitiously planned to gain USD one billion from the export of processed meat by the end of 2015.
Yet, achieving that amount is questionable since the recent export figures had stood at only USD 280 million. Mebrahtu Meles (Ph.D.), Minister of State for Industry, was vocal with livestock traders and told actors to switch to meat processing and exporting. During a visit to the second Africa Livestock Expo and Congress (ALEC) at the Millennium Hall on Thursday, Mebrahtu told members of the Ethiopian Livestock Traders Association that they had to immediately focus on setting up abattoirs and meat processing plants in the country. However, Shibeshi Teshome, general manager of the association, told Mebrahtu that they were faced with problems on the demand side.
According to experts interviewed by The Reporter, the subsector, which is stated to be the major earner of hard currency in the meat and dairy products sector, was in a critical situation. According to exporters, the supply and shipment targeted to Saudi Arabia and Yemen had been monopolized by a single agent at the Port of Djibouti. Mebrahtu agreed that the annual earnings from live animal export had topped USD 670 million this year. Yet, according to Mebrahtu, the livestock export business is something the government has a disadvantage with. He said that the buyers at the various value chains were small in size despite the proximity Ethiopia has with Middle Eastern countries for ease of export. Most buyers in countries like Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are the ones that can easily be attracted. However, lack of capacity and quality to supply in large volumes had forced such countries to rely on South American and Australian supplies. Big companies from these countries and the military were major buyers, and Ethiopia failed to supply and satisfy their import needs, he said. Only five abattoirs are exporting and eight others are ongoing. The Indian Allan group has plans to export processed and frozen meat after setting up three abattoirs in the near feature. Despite the livestock exporters, businesses specialized in processing meat and dairy and poultry products have voiced the challenges they are facing. Lack of electric power supply, land acquisition problems, credit inaccessibility, lack of market and related technical supports are some of the issues Mebrahtu had been told while paying a visit to the exhibition stands. He was busy promising to address the issues as soon as possible. The second ALEC exhibition closes today. This year, some 100 exhibitors from 15 different countries were present. Out of the exhibitors some twenty are from foreign counties. According to Nebeyu Lemma, managing director of Prana Promotion, one of the organizers of the expo, the expo is planned to go beyond Ethiopia.