Beles Processing, Export needs active efforts

Ethiopian scientist won award coming up with ways of tapping Beles for producing fuel for cooking food and boiling

The manufacturing and exporting of Beles fruit to the international market needs an active role of stakeholders mainly that of Tigray state Industry Corporation, UNIDO Beles Project, Adigrat Town Administration and Adigrat University Beles Institute, so stated the Adigrat Manufacturing Bureau.

An enterprise, owned by an association of 12 young people, have recently stated to process and export Beles fruit to the international market mainly to Israel aft it received training prepared jointly by Adigrat Unibersity Beles Institute and UNIDO, said Bureau’s One-Stop-Centre Coordinator, Elias Tsegaye.

Beles is a type of cactus which provides a highly nutritious food source that can be processed into a diverse range of food products.

The Tigray State Industry Corporation, the first stakeholder charged with of the manufacturing and exporting process had not readied itself in-terms of budget to support the manufacturing and market chain process this summer harvest season, he added.

Due to the lack of coordinated efforts of stakeholders, through assessors from Kenya had observed the production process, the enterprise has not yet got certification according to the Bureau.

He sated that due to lack of active involvement of the aforementioned stakeholders, the market chain proved tardy in brining significant results.

In its news release on June 2013, UNIDO had announced that it has launched an agribusiness development project to help rural communities in Tigray establish a stable source of income focused on Beles.

“UNIDO and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) sign an agreement on a USD 600,000 grant in support of the Beles-based agribusiness development project in the Tigray state.”

The project was to help establish a modern processing plant which will manufacture a stable – supply of Belese based products, it further stated.

Dr. Zebib Yenus (a researcher ) has become the first Ethiopian Scientist to be awarded FLAIR research project that focuses on synthesizing and prototyping of cost effective selective solar absorber surface based on Cactus pear “Beles” in order to heat water/cook/pasteurized milk in rural areas of Africa where installation of electricity is difficult. The award is, a generously funded by the Royal Society with the support from the UK’s Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) in partnership with the African Academy of science for talented African early career researchers who have the potential to become leaders in their field.

She is an associate professor at Adigrt University and also works closely with the experts in the field internationally including Canada, Europe, and South Africa. The award is 300,000 pound which will significantly further her research, training and leadership goals.

The Awardees were selected from a pool of over 700 applicants and they will undertake research projects in the area of renewable energy; food security; water and health as these are the main challenges facing Africans today, couple months ago.

Adigrat University, Institute of Beles Coordiantor Yemane Kahsay, for his part, said that the University is working with governmental and nongovernmental actors to help the society gain benefits from manufacturing of Beles fruits and pads.

Yemane also called for urgent protection measures to restore the Beles affecting weed (cochineal) that attacked 75,000 hectares of Beles in most parts of southern Tigray and some other parts of the state.

Beles is the Amharic name for Opuntia ficusindica (also known as Nopales or prickly pear cactus). It provides highly nutritious food, with low levels of saturated fatty acids and very low levels of cholesterol.

The fruits and pads can be used for the production of numerous processed and fresh products, such as fresh fruits, juices, marmalades, Jelly candies, tea, ice cream and dessert sauces, as well as alcoholic drinks.

Israel eyeing Ethiopia’s agricultural sector

Israeli Ambassador to Ethiopia Raphael Morav said that Israeli investors have been showing a growing desire to invest in Ethiopia’s agriculture sector capitalizing on its huge potential and geographic proximity.

‘Ethiopia – Israel Seminar on Cooperation in Agriculture’ organized to overview the involvement of Israeli companies and insight new opportunities and shortcomings in Ethiopia’s agricultural sector was held here in Addis Ababa. Speaking on the event, Ambassador Morav said that the seminar was a good opportunity to discuss Israeli companies’ engagement in Ethiopia’s agricultural investment and learn about the country’s policy regarding foreign investment in agribusiness.

The Ambassador also stated that the Technical Cooperation Program in Smallholder Horticulture among MASHAV (Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation), USAID and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture have been registering significant success in supplying more than 500,000 high standard varieties of avocado seedlings suitable for export annually.

Awareness creation for the huge potential of avocado export among Ethiopian smallholder farmers and private sector, establishments of farmers’ clusters with a modern solar irrigation system and putting the basis for commercial production thereby helping the export of avocado to the European market are some of the program’s achievements.

Ambassador Morav expressed gratitude for the Ethiopian government for the commitment it has shown to strengthen the good collaboration between the two countries in the field of agriculture. Agriculture Minister Oumer Hussien said on his part that Israeli agricultural investors have come a long way with the Ethiopian government in its effort to strengthen the sector’s contribution to the country’s economic growth. Among many, Israel plays a pivotal role in promoting Ethiopia’s avocado in the global market and soytech’s herb export.

The Minister stated that Ethiopia needs to share Israel’s success of getting enormous yield from small plots of land and learn from its rich experience in irrigated agriculture. The government also gives due consideration to modernizing farming practices and increasing productivity through addressing technological and financial setbacks.

Oumer pointed out that Israel is a country with a high level of agricultural technologies and the coming of Israeli companies will have a great significance to the growth of Ethiopia’s agricultural sector. The Minister expressed optimism that Israel would continue supporting Ethiopia in its journey to becoming one of the middle-income countries by 2025 through productive investment and cooperation. He also assured his Ministry’s commitment to reinforce cooperation and support for the successful operation of Israeli companies.

Representatives of Ministry of Agriculture, Israeli businessmen investing in Ethiopia and representatives of 19 Israeli companies and NGOs’ already active in the country, officials and experts from the Israeli Embassy were in attendance of the seminar.

EHPEA Planted Fruit seedlings Following the National Green Legacy Initiative

In the morning of the 24th of July 2019, the Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) staff, management and partners gathered at Ayertena condominium supporting the tree-planting campaign which was part of the National Green Legacy Initiative. After a brief introduction of the tree planting procedures EHPEA executive director Mr. Tewodros Zewdie stated in his speech that the Association brought seedlings of various fruit plants collected from associations member farms with consideration that the neighbouring community would enjoy the fruits of plants in the future, He all also added a remark that it is the communities’ obligation to take care of the plans up keep.

The country wide event aimed at planting 200 million trees in a single day in 1,000 selected sites across the country; to tackle the effects of deforestation and climate change. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed congratulated citizens for not only meeting its collective Green Legacy goal but also exceeding the set target.

Minister of Innovation and Technology of Ethiopia Mr. Getahun Mekuria said that more than 350 million trees were planted in 12 hours that broke the world record held by India since 2016.


Red Fox Ethiopia Committed to Support the Local Community

Red Fox Ethiopia P.L.C operates under the well-known international company named Dümmen Orange. The company is engaged in producing and exporting business of cuttings Poinsettia and Geranium rooted and un-rooted with over 200 varieties to different parts of Europe and USA.

The farm is located in 90 km from Addis Ababa Oromya Regional Sate, East Showa Zone, Lume Woreda, about 1.8 km from Koka town.

Red Fox Ethiopia is implementing lots of corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects extended for the local community in many aspects as education being one of the primary focuses.


The company has renovated the existing old classrooms at the Koka Primary School and built new classrooms as well as one Administration block. In collaboration with neighbouring cutting farms-Florensis Ethiopia P.L.C and Syngenta built secondary school, having 24 class rooms and fully equipped with library and laboratory materials, with a cost of 4.5 million birr.

It also support many of its staffs to attend university studies for higher education which makes it one of a preferred employer in the region. The company received special awards and certifications for the good deeds from East Showa Education Bureau, Lome Woreda Administration, school community, students and other stakeholders.

Health Care:

As there is no national health care benefit for people in the country, especially those in rural areas have no access to health care. Accordingly, Red Fox Ethiopia established a fully functional medium level clinic and provide medical care service to all its temporary and permanent employees free of charge. The company also hired one health officer, two nurses, a laboratory technician, pharmacist and an administrator to manage the clinic and treat patients based on the requirement of the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia. The clinic is able to dispense medication including antibiotics, malaria treatment and many other primary health care treatments.


Anti-HIV Club

This project started in 2012 as HIV Prevention Club having a wider objective to support workers leaving with HIV and creating awareness on prevention.

Some of the supports are

  1. HIV/ADIS awareness through health care program.

► Education program like peer education, mini-media, coffee ceremony programs etc. In addition to this, there is a monthly training sessions held with the staff. Training in the community clinics has also started this year.

► Material support: During holidays material supports such as chicken, eggs and butter is provided to the patients. The Club has its own committee leaders who are looking over the implementation of the small project. This committee was established from managements and workers leaving with HIV. The club has its own bank account.

When the club was established in 2012, the financial source was monthly contribution from the company, workers and lottery sales and due to lack of sustainable financial source and lack of commitment from the committee members, the club tends to perform less than expected. However, in 2016 the club was re-established with the effort of the new management. These club members are now highly motivated and come up with innovative plans that are believed to approve the sustainability of the club and the support given to HIV patients.

The committee follows some strategies as a Source of Income; Contribution from the company  for the running cost of 15,000 birr.  Establishment of Poultry House to produce egg for the sustainable income source to support the project. The poultry farm was established in Nov, 2016 having an objective to support the income for anti HIV club that will help to sustain the project as a revolving fund from sales of egg. Currently, 120 layer chickens are kept in the poultry house and egg sales was started since February 2019.

The committee also looking for new support opportunities to the people leaving with HIV such as;  Nutritional supports for workers leaving with HIV/Aids whose CD4 count is lower, these are currently 30 workers in number. Some of the supports provided for these employees are: Holyday Support: by providing mainly chicken meat, egg, edible oil and butter,  Medical Health coverage, Sanitation materials and other support like 500ml power milk is also provided every 3 months.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has formed a new national steering committee to oversee and reform the investment climate and employment regime

To be chaired by Prime Minister Abiy, the steering committee will have high-level government officials and regional state heads as members and is expected to be operational in the coming weeks. A representative from the Ethiopian Investment Commission will be the secretariat of the new committee.

The committee will consolidate the existing National Ease of Doing Business Steering Committee as a subcommittee under it. After the formation of the new National Investment & Employment Steering Committee, the Ease of Doing Business Subcommittee will be jointly led by the ministries of Trade & Industry and Innovation & Technology.

Six months ago, the Office of the Prime Minister formed the National Ease of Doing Business Steering Committee in a bid to relax the regulations involved in running businesses in the country to make it more suitable for investment. It also aims at bringing informal businesses on board the formal system.

The National Ease of Doing Business Committee has representatives from eight ministries and agencies including the Investment Commission; the ministries of Finance, Innovation & Technology and Trade & Industry; the National Bank of Ethiopia; and the offices of the Prime Minister and Attorney General, among others.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has formed a new national steering committee to oversee and reform the investment climate and employment regime. The initiative also envisions placing Ethiopia among the top 100 countries in the Ease of Doing Business Index by 2021. The World Bank’s 2019 Ease of Doing Business Index places Ethiopia at the rank of 159 among 190 countries.

The Investment Commission is the coordinator of the reforms, while the Office of the Prime Minister is the initiator. The other government institutions will implement the reforms by forming task forces.

The Committee has been holding a monthly meeting for updates, while the Investment Commission has been meeting with implementing agencies on a bimonthly basis. Implementing agencies and ministries have also been sending weekly updates to the Committee.

Since becoming functional, the Committee managed to recommend the reform of eight proclamations and regulations along with 40 procedural and administrative legal frameworks.

The registry of a movable asset as collateral for credits, a value-added tax refund system and the registry of microfinance institutions and leasing companies into the National Bank of Ethiopia credit system are among the laws that followed the reform. The mandatory requirement to obtain a business license, which includes newspaper publication of trade names and lease or rental agreements, was also lifted.

Introduction of an electronic single window system, issuance of an online construction permit and tax payment through banks were also introduced as part of the reforms over the past couple of months. In the past six months, the government has digitised title deed records in Addis Abeba and added commercial benches at the Federal High Court as part of the reforms.

Though all of the reforms were reported to the World Bank, the upcoming Ease of Doing Business Index to be released in October will not consider most of them, since the Bank counts reports until the end of last April, according to Abebe Abebayehu, commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission. “Most of the reforms were implemented after April,” said Abebe.

Launching online business registration; reducing the number of days to obtain a business license from 11 to five and cutting the procedures from 32 to four; and fully implementing one-stop-shop services at all levels are the medium-term plans of the Committee to be achieved by December of this year. Replacing cash register machines with software for Value Added Tax (VAT) invoices; automating tax payment systems; fully automating court processes; the legislation of the amended commercial code; implementation of e-payment, national ID and e-signature are among the long-term plans to be achieved by May 2020. Cutting the number of days to obtain a business license from five to two and the procedures to one from four are also targets of the long-term plan.

“The performances of this year enable us to conduct impact outcome studies of the reforms,” said Prime Minister Abiy, adding that the outcome of the reforms would attract more investment that could help create three million jobs. “Therefore, we’ll upgrade our focus to employment and investment.”

In the past 10 months of the just-ended fiscal year, the country was able to attract 2.8 billion dollars worth of foreign direct investment (FDI). During the just-ended fiscal year, the country has created 1.4 million jobs.

Zereyaqob Belete, the managing partner of Nexus Investment Solution, a decade-old investment consultancy firm, says the undergoing reforms will have a significant impact in attracting more FDI from Western countries. “The reform will break the bureaucratic chains and reduce the level of corruption,” said Zereyaqob, “which will end up cutting the unforeseen expenses of the investors, encouraging them to invest in Ethiopia.”

Zereyaqob also suggests the government give attention to the stability and security of the country, another major factor for the improvement of the investment climate.

Contact Info

Location : Micky Leyland Avenue on the Road to Atlas Hotel, NB Business Center; 6th floor; Room # 603

Phone : +251 11 6636750

P.O.Box: 22241 Code 1000


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