The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Irish Aid signed a collaboration agreement late this week at the Sheraton Addis to provide funding to assist the development and adaptation of technologies and business models required to transform the dairy sector in Ethiopia.
The collaboration agreement was signed between US Ambassador to Ethiopia Patricia Haslach and Ambassador of Ireland to Ethiopia Aidan O'Hara.
Irish Aid, through its Private Sector Innovation Fund, is signing an agreement with USAID to stimulate and support agribusiness enterprises and innovations in the dairy sub-sector. 400,000 Euro (10 Million birr) fund will be facilitated through USAID's Ethiopia Sustainable Agribusiness Incubator (ESAI) project, which is being implemented by Precise Consult International (PCI). ESAI's goal is to transform Ethiopian agriculture sector-by-sector by enhancing the competitiveness of the entire value chains in the dairy, sesame and honey subsectors of Ethiopia.
The dairy innovation fund will be used for the design, demonstration and field-testing of technologies and business models that can demonstrate high potential for increased commercialization of milk products in Ethiopia.
Henok Assefa, Chairman of Precise Investments, Managing Partner Precise Consult and Chief of Party USAID Ethiopia agribusiness incubator told The Reporter that the fund would support entrepreneurs with innovative business models and technologies that demonstrate great potential for commercialization such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization services ,distributing inputs of dairy farmers, producing and distributing veterinary care or creating long shelf life milk products such as cheese, butter, UHT and powder milk.
UHT is long-life milk that comes in a box; it can live without refrigeration for 6 months until opened. It can be shipped far from its source of production, it can be traded internationally, it saves money that would otherwise go towards preservation, and reduces loss through spoilage.
The fund provided for each project will be up to 20,000 Euro and applicants with sector wide impact will be at the higher-level range of up to 50,000.
Moreover, according to Henok, in order to select the appropriate applicants, criteria are set to measure the concept notes and merit on innovativeness and the potential in creating significant impacts in the dairy subsector transformation.