16 April 2018

Ethiopia: Argo-Processing in Saving, Generating Hard Currency

Ethiopia is a country blessed with bountiful natural resources like arable land and water, if effectively harnessed, which will help come up with bumper harvest.

Also if well processed, the agricultural yields could go a long way in curtailing the outflow of the much-sought-after hard currency. The resources could as well help in fetching the same.

To substantiate the case in point, it suffices to reflect that though Ethiopia is marked for its green emerald or coffee Arabica, without value addition it exports this commercial crop for cheap and imports processed coffee. As compared to the former, the price of the latter is manifold.

The sad episode shows that if agro-processing industries mushroom in the country to come up with semi-processed or processed agricultural yields, the country could curtail the outflow of hard currency discouraging the importation of such commodities. Also, replacing imported commodities by the local products could augment its hard currency reserve. As many agree in terms of quality, the locally produced Macaroni and Pastas are nothing less than the imported ones, ubiquitous in the market.

In so far as, there are fresh fruits that get their way from the farm to the fork or processed here, there is no need to import fruits and beverages, which are seen inundating the market. At this juncture, it is important to note that there is a call for sensitizing the public to zoom focus to homegrown products going against the trend of lavishing fancy on imported commodities as a sign of refinement.

As the inclination towards Ethiopian-made leather clothes is seen growing on the wake of the burgeoning of leather industry in the country, the aforementioned habit will buy credence among the general public slowly but surely. Here, worthy to note is the unfolding of such habit on the part of citizens and foreigners here.

Most Ethiopian shoes made of pure leather are outsmarting the imported ones. But this trend presuppose the coming up with quality products. It is the coupling of affordable price with quality that could attract buyers to locally-produced commodities.

Also agro-processing industries thrive in Ethiopia, at the top of the table in Africa when it comes to the number of cattle countries in the continent have.

Investors who fight shy to join the sector must enjoy encouragement and incentives as such a move falls in line with the government's push towards industrialization that eyes at using the agriculture sector as a springboard. Though some changes in this regard are taking shape, there is a lot to be desired.

The coming into life of agro-industries opens wider room for job opportunities too. Aside from absorbing many unemployed citizens, mainly youths and women, the trend will bump up the tax revenue the government collects to turnaround the livelihood of citizens.

Gaps in the supply and demand of some industrial inputs are palpable.

Farmers must be patted on the back to use technologies that boost yields and productivity. But such technologies prove unaffordable to farmers .By way of incentivizing the trend, it sure is good the government subsidizes the sector. To multiply over quality there is also a call for making land available.

There is a call for additional policy changes in terms of incentives, finance , transport and logistics.

As the new prime minister noted recently the nation is beset by dearth of foreign currency as a result of shortfall in its exports. This is ascribable to inadequacy to emerge with commodities that brush shoulder with those circulating the global market. This has to be rectified.

Assessing performances in GTPII so far, the country must press ahead with augmenting its hard currency breaking bottlenecks.

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