Ethiopia: Agro-Processing As a Means to Transformation

Ethiopia sees the untapped and lucrative agro-industry sector as one of the major engines to bring about structural transformation, generate hard currency and create employment opportunities to its rapidly growing youth population.

As horticulture has become a lucrative sector, Ethiopian Horticulture Producers and Exporters Association (EHPEA) is striving to making the country a leading producer of horticulture by introducing excellence and quality, says Promotion and Information Head with the Association Yemisrach Birhanu.

Some 114 businesses that produce flowers, oriental plants, fruits, vegetables, and herbs and supply to the global market have become members of EHPEA, Yemsrach says.

"Our destination markets, among others, are Europe, America and China," she says adding last year's revenue alone hit over 300 million USD.

Warka Leather Products which is based in Bahir Dar, capital of Amhara State, produces different kinds of bags made of genuine leather.

Yonas Teshemo, Shareholder and Company Deputy Chairman says Warka has been supplying its products to towns across the State and the capital Addis Ababa. The Company has envisioned to upgrade the standard of its products to boost its exports, according to Yonas.

"At present, we do have the machinery and the capacity to produce large amount of products. Using the opportunities and lessons drawn from the international agro-industrial forums and business platforms, we will make it possible to penetrate into the international market."

The state owned wholesaler, Merchandise and Wholesale & Import Trade Enterprise (MEWIT) hopes to solve the input supply limitations in order to meet the intended production goal of the agro-processing sector, Yonas adds.

Yahiya Seid Omar, Owner and President of Spices Import-Export Company tells The Ethiopian Herald that the Company has maintained good reputation in exporting processed Ethiopian agricultural products.

The export destinations of these products includes India, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Tukey, UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Japan, Singapore, USA, Israel and South Africa.

The government is supportive of and has been giving due attention to such initiatives to enable the agro-processing sector thrive, Ahmed Abtew Industry Minister said while opening the Second International Agro-industry Investment Forum on Monday.

The idea of organizing agro-industrial investment forum came about as the government started to take intensive intervention to promote agricultural commercialization by building strong agro-processing sector, the Minister added.

The government and its partners have strong desire to expand the richest sector and the scope to this platform in to continental event.

With vivid national visions, the competitiveness and geographic advantages in the infrastructural development such as the expansion of industrial parks, abundant resources and labor force, access to the global market through the Ethio-Djibouti electric railway and Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopia is becoming a preferable destination for investors in agro-processing sector.

The government is also firmly committed to transform the structural base of the economy from agriculture to industry. And hence, it provides several incentives to private investors to meet and explore business prospects and explore business partnership opportunities the Minister added.

Such forums and platforms have great role in advancing trade and investment in the agro-processing sector.

The government of Ethiopia has been striving to make this goal a reality and contributes its share in whatever modest way to further build up the visibility of the continent in the global business and its success on the industrial development.

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