Ethiopia, Netherlands expands cooperation on agriculture

The bilateral relation between Ethiopia and the Netherlands is strengthening in a range of investment areas, notably in the agriculture sector.

In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, Thijs Woudstra, Deputy Ambassador of the Netherlands Embassy in Ethiopia announced that the Netherlands is supporting over 150 million euros worth of projects in agriculture, health, and private sector development.

The Netherlands is the major and largest investor in Ethiopia’s flower farm sector, with 300 million USD worth of flowers exported to the Netherlands, he said, and we are working to further strengthen it in the future.

According to him, the Netherlands also supports Ethiopia’s Agricultural Vocational Education sector through projects like Bright Future in Agriculture (BFA), where the aim is to provide hands-on education and supply qualified exposed graduates to the sector.

The project is underway in collaboration with Arba Minch University and is implemented in 12 TVETs in Ethiopia.

Enyew Getnet, Federal TVET Institute Deputy Director-General, for his part said that the project is underway as a 2.7 million euro joint project, and its design is to strengthen the local agricultural TVETs.

The project works to capacitate several agricultural colleges namely: Bako, Kombolcha, Alage, Wolayita Sodo and Wereta TVET colleges in producing manpower that is capable and skilful in supporting farmers, both in the urban and hinterlands, and thereby help to ensure food security.

As to him, the project concentrates on both the dairy and horticulture sub-sector. It operates based on the fundamental notion that improving the quality and employability of agricultural TVET graduates necessitates changes on local, regional and federal levels through triple helix partnerships.

Horticulture Stakeholders Visits Plant Protection Sites in Holland and Kenya

The Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) organized experience sharing visit to capacitate its key stakeholders of the sector who are working in the area of pest management (Plant Protection).

Integrated Pest Management (IPM), is one of the components of the Ethio-Dutch Program for Horticulture Development, a joint partnership Program of Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ethiopia.
The visit program deliberated to enhance the experiences, knowledge and skill of key stakeholders decision makers in the area of IPM technologies registration and promotion. On the event a team of experts and decision makers from Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Ethiopian Investment commission (EIC) and Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) has made an experience sharing study tour to Holland and Kenya from January 1st to 12th, 2020.

In Holland; the team visited Koppert Biological System; packaging, processing & unpacking centers at Floral Holland (AQ Aalsmeer unpacking center, Sher/Afri flora unpacking center, BSI unpacking centers); auction centers (Flora Holland and Aalsmeer); Post harvest Chain of Floral Holland, K & N phytosanitory center.

In addition, in the Republic of Kenya, the team made a visit to International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Real IPM, and Dudutech. At the institutions, apart from visiting key demos what the institutions were doing in the area of pests and pest managements;  presentation, discussion and explanation on topical issues of pest management was made among the visiting team and senior staff of visited institutions.

Promoting Gender Equality to Prevent Gender Based Violence;in commercial horticulture farms

Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) organized a capacity building workshop on “Workplace gender equality and ways on prevention of gender based violence” at Bishoftu town January 14th and 15th, 2020.  The workshop is organized to enhance the awareness of responsible government office staffs who has a pivotal role on commercial horticulture farm practices towards prevention of workplace violence against women on the daily farm practices of gender equality.

Identified government stakeholders from Wolemera Woreda, Ejere woreda and Sebeta town of Labor and Social Affair, Women Children and Youth Office, Justic e Office and Police are among the participants.

The workshop was a good platform to strengthen the partnership of commercial horticulture farms with government stakeholders in a way set direction on prevention of workplace gender based violence.

The workshop concluded by developing a joint action plan to work in collaboration to address the workplace Gender Based violence and Occupational Health and Safety issues.

Agricultural Waste Used for Car Parts

Researchers at Spain’s University of Alicante are addressing high levels of agricultural waste by using it in car parts. Head researcher María Carmen Garrigós told that the work, named Project Barbara, places new value in agricultural residue.

The team works to incorporate parts of fruits and vegetables into things like dashboards and car doors, among other things. They do this by breaking down parts of the products and fusing them with already-existing materials.

Through 3D technology, said Garrigós, they “create car parts and construct mechanical devices that work better”. According to Garrigós, the project uses lemons, pomegranates, broccoli and almond skins. Additives extracted from these agricultural products protect car parts and make them more stable, he explained. For instance, the properties of almond skin provided a structure similar to wood in strength, detailed Garrigós.

Currently, the team uses fruits and vegetables like to create natural colors for cars. This provides a different kind of color than the typical synthetics. “Organic products could also be used for their natural colors and fragrances.

Through antimicrobial activation, things like carrots and oranges could be used,” she explained. In addition, lemon residue can be used to make materials that give off a nice smell that could be useful for car manufacturers and rental places. Even corn contains polysaccharides, which can be used to improve the properties of some parts. She also added that these products often create a lot of waste in the region. This is why the team chose these specific produce items. Barbara began in May 2017. With plans to finish in April of 2020, it was financed by a program in the EU called BBI JU (Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking). The project is a collaboration of various research groups in the university and the technological center Aitiip.

EU Avocado Market: Large Hass to Remain Scarce amid Strong Green Skinned Demand

The European avocado market supply shortage is expected to ease over the coming weeks, but importers say the availability of larger sizes will remain limited.

Their comments came after a very different few months in the EU avocado market compared to last year, when oversupply pushed prices to rock bottom.

Elena Rogojnikova of Netherlands-based The Greenery told that the avocado market so far in 2019 has been “exactly the opposite” of 2018.

“In the summer of 2018 followed by September and October, we faced a huge oversupply of Hass avocados from South Africa and Peru that resulted in extremely low market prices,” she said.

“In 2019, the lack of avocados in the European market is a consequence of the situation in the USA. Due to higher prices over there, a lot of producers from Mexico and Peru have sent their avocados there instead of Europe.”

Rogojnikova explained the shortage this year occurred mostly in bigger sizes (from 12 to 20), which fetched “extremely high” prices. Conversely, she said that there is an abundance of small Hass avocados – mainly from Chile and Colombia – putting prices of those sizes under pressure. Chile’s crop is around 25% lower, she said, and the ongoing drought is one of the main reasons behind the smaller sizings.

In addition, she said there have been “some logistical difficulties” due to the social unrest in the country. However, Colombia Hass avocado production is growing every year, she said. Spain has also recently started its season, and Israeli Hass supplies are expected to start in December. “Over the coming weeks, bigger sizes will remain short and the prices will remain high,” she said.

Relative avocado undersupply likely to continue

Matthew Glancy, procurement manager at U.K.-based Minor, Weir and Willis had also found the 2018 avocado market situation to be completely reversed this year.

The severe undersupply of fruit which had made conditions challenging, he said. Some of the bigger Peruvian shippers had seen crop reductions of 30%-50% and had decided to focus more heavily on what fruit they had on the U.S. market, where the California crop was down substantially. He said the Chilean avocados are far smaller than recent years because of the drought.

The season would also likely finish earlier than normal, he said. “On a normal year they would finish around March, but this season it would finish in the first or second week of January,” he said.

With Colombian avocado volumes rising around this time of year – and with Spanish, Mexican and some early Israeli Hass coming through – he said that fruit availability would increase. However, he still expected a general undersupply situation to continue. “We’ll still be relatively short on supply,” he said. “But there are a couple of things that can tip it – somebody coming it with a bit more might make a difference. It doesn’t take a huge amount to go into an oversupply or undersupply situation. “What seems to be happening – a lot to do with Chile – is there’s a lot of smaller fruit available, and large and medium fruit is still relatively short on supply. So we need people to be looking at to be promoting what we’ve got.”

Buoyant green-skinned avocado market

He added that this year there seemed to be a greater move toward green-skinned avocados, which are naturally larger than Hass.

Rogojnikova noted that the green-skinned avocado season from South Africa was stable this year, albeit with an earlier finish than normal. “There was enough volume and nearly no quality issues,” she said. Israeli Galil and Ettinger varieties are in the avocado market with slightly lower volumes than last year, she said, which has resulted in “stable and high prices”.

The quality of both Galil and Ettinger was good this year, with no major quality issues. Ettinger will be followed by Arad and Pinkerton in December,” she said. Meanwhile, the Spanish Bacon season is almost finished, and the first Fuerte avocados have fetched reasonably good prices.

Creating Effective Workplace Safety

Identifying and mitigating exposures to occupational hazards before work begins is the core point of all safety and health professionals. Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) training department, offers a basic outline through its interpretation of the Occupational Health and Safety Training.

The training delivered for 33 OHS officers drawn from EHPEA member farms at its office meeting hall from December 31, 2019- January 03, 2020 having an objective of creating Safe Working Environment in the farm by focusing on course content such as; Importance of Health & Safety, Hazard Identification & Risk Assessment, OHS Audit, OHS Policy Preparation and Implementation.

In addition to class room training; a one-day practical farm visit has been conducted at Olij Roses PLC to share an experience on implementation of safe working practices.

Ellepot introducing new paper for organic production

Ellepot has developed and patented a new technology for their Ellepot propagation papers, and the first product in a new line to come is Ellepot Organic 2.0.

The new propagation paper – Ellepot Organic 2.0 consist of 100% fully compostable and degradable materials. The new patented technology for the paper is the result of six years’ intense product development. A development process to ensure environmental compliance at every stage of the paper’s life cycle, including material selection, handling, testing, & degradation.

Certified and ideal for organic production

With a decomposition time of 6-8 weeks, the new Ellepot Organic 2.0 is ideal for producers of organic crops and crops with a shorter propagation time. The paper is made from wood fibers sourced from FSC certified forests and other controlled sources, and is furthermore approved by the Soil Association in UK. The new product is also approved as input for organic crops in Denmark, Sweden & Canada. Soil Association is one of the world’s leading and oldest certifiers for organic crops, assuring conformity to the highest standards of environmental and social responsibility. On a finishing note, Ellepot have applied to have the Ellepot Organic 2.0 certified according to the “Home Compost” and “Biodegradable in Soil” certifications.

Ellepot Organic 2.0

    • Based on renewable wood fibers from FSC certified forests and other controlled sources
    • 100% degradable in soil
    • Certified and approved for organic production (UK, Sweden, Canada & Denmark)

Great root development resulting in faster growth & healthier plants

  • Suitable for all plant propagation, field planting, & farming of organic produce.

LEDs the Future of the Industry

He’s convinced that ultimately, the whole horticulture industry will switch to water-cooled LED lights. Being a producer of the product that doesn’t come as a surprise, but Jan Mol of Oreon has a story behind the products. “It originated in the search for a more sustainable alternative. We succeeded in that, both in terms of usage figures and longevity. In cultivation, we also see the advantage of having your lights produce significantly less heat. You have much more control over your climate, and the plant balance is better.”

“Growers want more light, but not more heat in their cultivation. They want to decrease energy use in the greenhouse, and minimize the amount of maintenance the lights need to undergo. We started from those ideas when we discovered the possibilities of LED lights.” This is said by Jan Mol, director of LED lighting specialist Oreon. Together with his colleagues, he came across this way of lighting, which was new at the time, 15 years ago. They immediately saw the possibilities for lowering energy use and increasing longevity. Via street lights, they ended up in horticulture.

The water-cooled luminaires make it possible to significantly increase the intensity of the lighting without adding heat to the crop, something that was initially particularly popular with cultivations like hydroponic lettuce, herbs and cresses, where heat plays a major role.

Now they’re seeing more and more tomato growers making the switch as well, in order to be able to work with higher levels of lighting. It’s one of the things they do a lot of research into at Oreon: what does the plant want? How does it react to a certain amount and type of light? And how can they deliver that? “That’s about the amount of light you can administer to a plant and the kind of light. LED has opened up a whole new field of research, because you can also steer on spectrum. That used to be unimaginable. Now we research how we can optimize that steering of the cultivation: with a red-blue spectrum, or by adding extra far-red light. In recent years a lot has been discovered there, but we keep focusing on optimization.”

The fact that the climate is disconnected from the lighting also offers new cultivation opportunities. “It used to be that those two couldn’t be controlled separately, because more light automatically equaled more heat. That’s not the case anymore, and this offers new opportunities and new research questions. You have much more control over your climate. How can you make the most of that?” And that’s not the only thing. For instance, in tomato cultivation, radiation heat actually has a role. “That’s why we now see a lot of growers going for a hybrid solution, with LED being combined with traditional SON-T lighting. Then we want to know if we can meet that heat demand with infrared on the top of the plant. That makes lighting in tomatoes also suitable in warmer climates.”

Oreon lights are all over the world now. “The US, Russia, Canada, Australia, Europe and soon Asia”, Jan lists. “We’re also seeing a lot of applications in indoor and vertical farming. There, cooling the facility is often a big issue. What you don’t heat, doesn’t have to be cooled either – so there water-cooled lights are very welcome.” The technology is now so advanced that at a number of growers, the heat from lighting is used in cultivation again, for example in heating the cultivation floor or the irrigation water.

The LED luminaires themselves are also continuously being developed further. For instance, together with suppliers, a brass coupler is being replaced with aluminum. A small difference, but with important consequences. The design of the luminaires is also important, of course. “The luminaire’s design means dirt can’t amass on the light. It’s also waterproof (IP67), so cleaning and disinfecting isn’t a problem,” Jan shows. “Especially with diseases and viruses popping up everywhere, that’s a major advantage.”


“Ultimately I expect everyone will switch to water cooling”, Jan concludes. “The luminaire is small, it emits a lot of light and thanks to the good cooling it has a long lifespan. Currently growers are still working with a depreciation period that’s equal to that of SON-T lights. LED surpasses that by far, we expect – and with a more stable output. The lights we installed ten years ago are still in perfect working order.” Because of this, he’s confidently looking to the future. “Now we often see that the choice for lighting is based on the price per mmol. That’s ultimately only a part of the story. In practice, you can realize more light hours with water-cooled LED lights, thus getting better ROI. In addition, you’ve got more control over your climate, with less ventilation and thus less heating. All things put together, the choice is easy.”

Oreon doesn’t seem to be the only company to realize this: over the year, more and more competitors in the water-cooled segments have appeared. Still, he doesn’t see that as a threat. “We’re so convinced of this product that I would be surprised if competitors didn’t appear. What’s more, the company was established with the idea of making lighting more sustainable. Good competition only encourages innovation and sustainability in the industry.”

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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