Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) hosted a one day workshop in “Social Accountability and Sustainability Awareness Creation Workshop in the Horticulture Industry” held on November 21, 2019 at Best Western Plus Hotel, Addis Ababa.
Representatives of EHPEA member farms, key stakeholders of the sector, professionals of CSR, community representatives from major clusters and relevant national authorities were in attendance.
EHPEA Executive Director Mr. Tewodros Zewdie started his opening speech by announcing that the horticulture sector has been the best performer in-terms of export value in this quarter among other sectors. On his presentation “Sustainability and corporate social responsibility in the horticulture industry” he stated the essence of CSR becomes very critical, that the business case of CSR to businesses should be followed by CSR and sustainability management in the export horticulture industry. He also added that there are a number of platforms that EHPEA is involved in both local and international level to ensure sustainability mentioning the association Code of practice developed to promote good agricultural practices with the three major pillars of employment safety, welfare of employees and protection of the environment. The construction of liquid waste (Used water) management system project is also the major intervention area that EHPEA undertaking in its member farms. In addition to this the association initiates and advocate for cluster based CSR projects in the industry.
The workshop was a great platform which helps the participants to understand the importance of CSR in a way actors of the sector to respond and adopt externalities created by their market action, which reaches beyond the interest of the firm and what is required by law. It also created an improved image of the sector within the stakeholders which will contribute to overall social and economic sustainability.
On the workshop different actors of the horticulture sector presented their experience on the implementation of CSR activities as follows;
Bayern Training and Development Center (Bfz) Mr.Torsten Schulthess, Project Manager presented on Experience of Bfz in promoting CSR and Sustainability.
Mrs. Mahlet Shibabaw, Program Manager and Country representative of Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) presented on “Practices and experiences on CSR Implementation in Ethiopia and Challenges in Implementation and the way forward”.
Mr. Sander De Raad, Project Manager of Social Impact Assessment Ethiopian Netherlands Trade for Agricultural Growth (ENTAG) presented the international Perspective of CSR Implementation and way of integration with the Ethiopian Context.
From Ethiopian Investment Commission Commercial Horticulture Sector Directorate, Mr. Mekonnen Solomon, Horticulture Support and After Care Directorate Director presented regarding CSR and Sustainability in the Horticulture Sub-sector.
Fairtrade Africa (FTA) Mr. Kassahun Belay, Program Coordinator: Dignity For All (D4A) – Finnish-funded Impact Programme|, presented sustainability footprint and Impact of Fair Trade to the Horticulture Sector and success stories Challenges and opportunities of road to sustainability.
Mr. Yosef Mengistu, ESA Quality Manager and Technical Adviser in Ethiopian Standard Agency ISO 26000: presented Social Responsibility Guideline brief and its relevance in the Horticulture Industry.
Mr. Benjamin Goepferich, Regional Director Production Africa. Presented on the Practices and Experiences of CSR implementation at Dummen Orange Red Fox Ethiopia plc/ Dummen Orange.
After the presentations the participants reflected ideas and questions and discussed at length. Mr. Tewodros concluded the workshop stressing on the way forward by calling all stakeholders to strengthen their engagement on CSR activities, the government support to properly map supportive procedural policies and stakeholders to be involved on cluster based CSR activities to get a holistic advantage.