Striving for better Agro-logistics

The Ethiopian horticulture sector shows a tremendous rise with in short period of time, contributing to more than 10% of the national foreign currency earning and created over 200,000 jobs, out of which 85% are women.

In order to further the sector achievement the Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) in partnership with Addis Ababa University College of Business and Economics School of Commerce has organized a Research Conference on Agro-Logistics in Ethiopia.

Currently, agriculture accounts for 60% of all export and for more than 80% of total employment in Ethiopia. Efficient and smart agro-logistics is a key enabler for the success of agricultural supply chains especially for perishable sectors. It also plays quite a vital role for the competitiveness of agricultural sectors locally and internationally by ensuring quality, delivery reliability and punctuality.

On the conference Mr. Tewodros Zewdie, Executive director of EHPEA stated on his speech that despite the competitive and comparative advantage for production and export of fruit and vegetables, the high costs of logistics particularly the costs of reefer containers hamper Ethiopia’s untapped potential to benefit from the main consumer markets. As there is no enough reefer container in the country farms are expected to pay for the empty container movement from Djibouti to their farm gat and from their farm gat to Djibouti. This calls for crafting sustainable solution so as to unlock the massive opportunities for the production and export of fruit and vegetables.

He also added urging the government to take proactive measures on creating better doing business climate for all the actors of agro-logistics including incentives for those who wants to invest on the sector , investing on necessary systems and infrastructures of agro-logistics, to help in slashing the inflated costs of reefer containers by taking out the empty leg of reefer container movement from Djibouti, availing finance for the private sector operators so that they build their capacity in specialized logistics services and anchoring productive platforms for proactive and structured engagement of the private sector, academic and research institutions and the government at large.

Transport Minister Mrs. Dagmawit Moges, on her keynote speech said “Taking into account that the horticulture sector is one of the anticipated development of Ethiopia, it attracts the government due emphasis. To address the challenges of logistics; the council of Minsters ratified the national logistics strategy that has been prepared by Ministry of Transport. In addition to this logistic sector have been open to both foreign and domestic investors so as to create enabling environment, effectiveness and efficiency in the sector. To further boost up the horticulture sector and other semi-processing food manufacturers; the cool chain feasibility study has been ongoing which is believed to transform the perishable logistics chain of transport.”

On the conference, policy makers, high ranking government officials, logistic service providers, academicians, cargo owners, forwarders, financial institutions, and other pertinent stakeholders attended and discussed on the research paper presented.

Dümmen Orange launches new phalaenopsis label ‘Popcorn’

Dümmen Orange launched a new orchid label for its special small-flowered phalaenopsis: Popcorn ‘Pops up your room’. The sector first became acquainted with this new label during the open days. These Popcorn orchids are available in many colours ranging from white and yellow to light and dark pink. Their unique characteristic is their profusion of flowers that are also smaller than those of similar phalaenopsis varieties.

With Popcorn, Dümmen Orange is introducing a new label for small-flowered phalaenopsis. This orchid’s flowers ‘pop’, just like real popcorn pops open. Hence the slogan: ‘pops up your room’. Each plant bears 50 (!) flowers less than 4 cm in diameter. This makes the total impression slightly different to the usual phalaenopsis varieties. Another plus: the Popcorn assortment provides a wide range of colours, from white and yellow to light and dark pink. This label promises to turn any house into a home because it matches perfectly with any interior style, be it retro, industrial, rustic or designer.

The market for large-flowered orchids is becoming saturated. Dümmen Orange realises that its customers – the growers – need to be provided with a distinctive package of products, and the Popcorn label is helping to do just that. Research has shown that a growing percentage of European consumers respond easily to trends: they are looking for a special look, personal expression and originality. New applications and ideas that express a lifestyle are the ones these consumers appreciate most. Aimed at millennials as end consumers, the new Popcorn label’s fresh and original look is just what they want. The FlowerTrials® marked the launch of the Popcorn campaign, which will continue to inform Dutch growers about this label both on and offline.

Dümmen Orange is the world’s largest breeder and propagator of cut flowers, bulbs, tropical plants, pot plants, bedding plants and perennials. Its annual turnover is about €350 m. The company employs over 7,300 people worldwide. In addition to a large marketing and sales network, Dümmen Orange has a diversified network of specialised production sites. The key to Dümmen Orange’s success is a broad and deep product range, supported by a global supply chain. The company embraces its social responsibilities and invests in the health, safety and personal development of its staff.

Preparing to grow bananas in Tajikistan greenhouses

Members of the “Dustobod 2” farm in the Spitamen district of the Republic of Tajikistan intend to build four innovative hectares of hydroponics on 4 hectares by 2021. There, they plan to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and bananas.

The construction of the first greenhouse is already underway on an area of ​​1 hectare. The growers intend to plant from 25,000 to 30,000 tomato seedlings in it in autumn, to get the first harvest in December of the current year, hopefully amounting to some of 100-120 tons. They expect to receive the second harvest in March-April. Thus, this hydroponic greenhouse, which will have autonomous heating and drip irrigation, according to farmers, should give about 220-240 tons of tomatoes.

The commissioning of two other greenhouses, intended for the cultivation of cucumbers and bell peppers, is scheduled for 2020.

The fourth greenhouse will be erected and put into operation in 2021, the Farmers have already decided that they will grow bananas in it. To this end, they are studying the technology of growing these fruits in greenhouse conditions. Farmers plan to plant about 1000 banana saplings on one hectare of greenhouse farming and in the coming years to receive about 45-50 tons of this production, which is still imported by the republic.

Farms Collaborated for Community Awareness Creation

Horticulture farms in Koka cluster teamed up to host an “Open Green House Day” initiated and organized by Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association held on July 2nd 2019. The event aimed to enhance the awareness of the surrounding community towards their perception of farms operation in the green house.

Accommodating various stakeholders including local government representatives, community leaders, community youths and elders; the program opened by the blessing of the region Abba Gadaa’s blessing and prayers at Syngenta farm.

On the opening Mr. Tewodros Zewdie, EHPEA Executive Director; stated that the Association organized this event taking into account that the achieved success of the horticulture sector is because of the hard work of the employees who came from the community mentioning that currently the country is on the 5th level of flower export in the world.  The horticulture sector created job opportunity for over 200,000 people and one of the top foreign currency earner in the country; he added.

East Shoa Zone Investment Officer Mr. Million Asfaw said on his speech; such kind of events creates belongingness with in the community and narrow the gaps of understanding. He convey his message to the community leaders that they have to work with the farms hand to hand to boost the Koka cluster investment. And lastly, he passes his appreciation to the event organizers that this kind of programs should be encouraged and adapted to other clusters as well.

Lastly, the visitors have seen the standard and wetland construction for the waste water treatment of the farms effluents, treatment and provision of refined potable water the community and for its employees and the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technology specially their use of biological agents in a wide range.

After the visit the participants reflected their feedbacks how they are enlightened by what they observe on obtaining good agricultural practices. They also appreciated the practices that the farms are following especially on the better employee management, appropriate environment protection and regarding discharging its responsibility towards the local community.

The Koka cluster farms are also known for their great corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) works to the community; building elementary and high schools, yearly school material donation for the students, establishment of a support center for orphanages and vulnerable children, electric power supply installation, building residential houses for internally displaced people and providing safe drinking water.

Al-Amoudi funding bio-pesticide research to curtail application of synthetics

Ethiopian-born tycoon Sheikh Mohammed Al-Amoudi, the 2nd richest business person in Africa next to Aliko Dangote, is funding the bio-pesticide research conducted on Phytolacca dodecandra L’Herit, a sprawling woody climber plant.

 Sheikh Mohammed, who also owns a gigantic agricultural farm – Ethio Agri-CEFT PLC – in Ethiopia, has so far invested over 5 million Ethiopian Birr (close to USD 170,000) for the research effort and to develop it on 50 hectares as a commercial plant over the last ten years aiming at curtailing application of synthetic pesticides or chemicals.

Consequently, flower farms in that country are replacing synthetic pesticides with the trailing shrub – Phytolacca dodecandra L’Herit – as researches confirm the fungicidal and larvicidal properties of the plant, says Mr. Esayas Kebede, General Manager of the commercial farm.

Researchers working for Ethio Agri-CEFT, one of the largest commercial farms in Ethiopia, have been conducting the bio-pesticide plant’s field trials as a fungicidal agent on two flower farms in Holeta and Bahir Dar towns and proved that Phytolacca dodecandra (locally called ‘Endod’) could be an “alternative to manufactured pesticides.”

Adane Wolde-Yohannes, Ethio Agri-CEFT Deputy General Manager for Agriculture and Agro-Industry stated: “These promising results mean that the plant can have widespread use in both domestic and industrial settings.  The trials at our Holeta and Bahir Dar flower  farms were  so  successful  that  we  were  able  to  reduce  the  use of manufactured pesticides.”

“Ethio Agri- CEFT has been conducting observational studies on the ‘Endod’ plant for more than ten years.  The data collected from these studies indicates that the plant has fungicidal, larvicidal and molluscicidal properties,” Adane Wolde-Yohannes indicated.

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