EHPEA

Farms Open their Green House for Community Awareness Creation

Horticulture farms in Debrezeit cluster teamed up to host an “Open Green House Day” initiated and organized by Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) held on December 12th, 2019. The event aimed to enhance the awareness of the surrounding community towards their perception of farms operation in the green house.  The visit program accommodated over 110 various stakeholders drawn from the local government representatives, community leaders, community youths and elders were in attendance.

Mr. Tewodros Zewdie, EHPEA Executive Director; stated on his welcoming remark that the Association organized this event taking into account that the achieved success of the horticulture sector is due to the hard work of the employees who came from the community.  Mentioning flower investment in the country, it is only around 1500 hectares of land is under production which is contributing the major foreign currency being on the 5th level of flower export in the world. The sector created job opportunity for over 200,000 people in the country.

He also added that; if we double this investment as we have all the resources such as land, water and trainable workforce, the country economy and the livelihood of the community will be greatly benefited while the knowledge transfer is enhanced. As the sector is very competitive globally it needs due attention of the government and the community in supporting and creating conducive environment for investors.

On the opening the Ada Woreda Abba Gadaa’s made their blessing and prayers, as per the culture of the region.

Mr. Benjamin Goepferich, Regional Director Production Africa of Dummen Orange, gave a brief introduction of their farm and the cluster horticulture investment towards the code of conduct in a way how they interact with the employees and community engagement programs of CSR.

Bishoftu City Administration Office Administrator Mr. Merid 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 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.

The Ada Woreda Security and Administration Office Administrator Mr. Eshetu Nego and Investment office representative Mr. Haymanot Naha calls the community to collaborate on this investment development with in the region and work closely with farms and government offices for peace and security.

After the opening remarks the two farms; Olij Roses Plc and Joytech Plc received the visitors with a warm welcome and opened their production site for the official visit with a proper guidance and brief explanation.  Among the facilities visited, rose flower propagation, used water management system (Wetland), herb pack house and different varieties of herb green houses were visited.

After the visit the participants reflected their feedbacks how they are enlightened by what they observe on obtaining good agricultural practices appreciating the practices that the farms are following especially on the standard and wetland construction for the waste water treatment of the farms for appropriate environment protection.

Horticulture Festival Hosted in Bahir Dar City

Aiming to create awareness on horticulture investment in the Amhara region, a horticulture festival held in Bahir Dar city December 10th, 2019 at Grand Hotel. The Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) has been engaged in conducting field visits and horticultural investment forums across the region, reaching out to local communities, government bodies and students as part of its key intervention areas of promotion.

The main objective of the Horticulture Festival, is to provide a forum for the people of the region to increase their understanding of the sector and to create new partnerships with major investors engaged in the sector, stated Mr. Yohoanes Abebe EHPEA Technical Advisor on his opening remarks. Following the opening remark, Mr. Gethahun Mekonen (PhD), D/head of Amhara Industry and Investment office presented the region abundant resource which is suitable for Horticulture investment that can transform its economy and improved livelihood of the community.

On the festival a panel discussion organized where different stakeholders presented and share their experiences towards the sector investment.

Potential Horticultural crops for export and import substitution in Amhara region presented by Mr. SemagnAsredie(PhD), Amhara Agricultural Research Institute. On his presentation he mentioned the three identified  horticultural potential corridors: Tana , Kobo and Shewa Robit/ DebreBirhan, where the lands are suitable for Potato Seed Production, Potato processing,

Cool season vegetables seed production and marketing , Banana Production and ripening, Avocado Production and processing, Temperate fruits production and out grower salad production.

He also stressed on the necessities of facilities for investors like an international airstrip, a cargo centre and fast developing infrastructure to be taking into consideration Commitment of the region to encourage investment.

Representative of Bahirdar University Horticulture Department Instructor Mrs. Masho Aklile, presented the department courses and academic linkage of the horticulture investment areas.

Hass avocado investment opportunities in the region also presented by Mr. Wale Getaneh Smallholder Horticulture Project Coordinator.

Mr. Ben Depraetere, Managing Director & Country Head BASF Vegetable Seeds Ethiopia shared his experience on Seed propagation potential and challenges mentioning his interest to invest in the region as well.

Mr.Jan, Kokavege owner and manager also share his experience on out- grower scheme challenges and opportunities.

On the panel discussion participants reflected their opinions and questions stressing their readiness and eagerness to be part of the investment, mentioning the companies who have already got land  in Kunzila to start their work  as soon as possible.

The mini expo of 12 EHPEA member farms and unions who displayed their products made the event colourful which was visited by over 150 Bahir Dar city youths.

Representatives of different stakeholders from North Gojam (Semen Achefer, Liben and Kunzila), Bahir Dar city responsible government offices, banks, investors, community leaders were in attendance.The festival was successfully concluded creating a mutual understanding and motivation among the participants.

EHPEA COMMEMORATED THE WORLD AIDS DAY AT ETHIO-PASION FARM

The World AIDS Day has been commemorated in Sebeta Cluster Farm at Ethio Passion Farm compound on Friday December 6, 2019. The program was organized by EHPEA Gender Team in collaboration with EthioPassion Farm and Sebeta Town Health Office. On the event a total of 250 employee drawn from Et-Highland farm, Saron Roses PLC, and Lafto rose farm were in attendance.

The program aimed to enhance the awareness of employees about HIV/AIDS in the workplace and to sensitize the management to give emphasis on addressing related issues, with the theme of “Communities make the difference”.

On the event representatives of Sebeta Town Health Office, focal of HIV AIDS team Mr. Aseffa Oljira and Sr. Asnakech Kebede presented on the current status of HIV/AIDS situation in the country and forwarded recommendations on how to create HIV/AIDS free work force and provide care and support for workers who live with the virus; in addition to that they have announced that a free services are available in their health center like cervical cancer, breast cancer and other services.

In addition to this the presenter’s stresses on the essential role that communities should play in the AIDS response both at workplaces and in the surrounding local communities.

EHPEA Gender Component Manager Mrs. Yodit Girma also gave a brief introduction on EHPEA’s efforts in addressing gender equality, gender based violence and HIV/AIDS problems at work places. Following her presentation program Manager of EHPEA also made a key note speech on the importance of communities’ response to HIV/AIDS pandemic at workplace and EHPEA’s commitment to work with the member farms in address the HIV/AIDS related problems as part of their Occupational Health and Safety standard measures.

The Farm Manager of EthioPassion, Mr. Ermisa Aragaw acknowledged EHPEA for initiating and organizing this event. He also thanked the Sebeta Health Office for providing very important awareness raising presentation on HIV/AIDS, for availing voluntary counseling and testing services for the workers.

During the event free voluntary counseling and testing services availed to the participants by Sebeta Health office extension expert for 68 volunteer employee tasted for HIV so as to know their HIV status. The program was accompanied by various entertaining programs and discussion sessions.

On the closing of the program the participants made a firm commitment to make their individual contribution for preventing themselves from HIV infection, provide the necessary support for people living with HIV and inform their close friends and families about HIV and AIDS.

European table grape market becomes stronger than last year

Conditions in the European grape market are currently much improved compared to the same period last year, according to a Netherlands-based supplier.

Prices are generally healthy and are expected to remain considerably above last year’s levels at least through January, Robert van Melle of Origin Fruit Direct told FreshFruitPortal.com.

He said the company began receiving the first Brazilian fruit during October. Brazilian grapes started shipping later than last year in order to face less competition with European fruit. Nevertheless, the overseas grape market only started opening up just a few weeks ago.

“However, I think we can say the conditions are the contrary to last year,” he said. “Last year we were under pressure and we had an oversupply of pretty much all grape crops, with the exception of Chile.”

Origin Fruit Direct is now setting up the Namibian and South African shipments, with the first fruit from its Orange River farm packed last week.

Evans Delight grapes on Origin Fruit Direct’s Farm Adelante in the Orange River, South Africa

Grape from Peru – which is growing rapidly and extending its season on both ends – have arrived earlier than in 2018. Van Melle said this could be to avoid a repeat of last year when a clash between Peru and South Africa led to “terribly low prices”.

Another difference from last year is that the U.S. market will be attractive for Peru much earlier, with California supplies now winding down.

In addition, he said that many South African exporters are attempting to diversify their markets wherever they can in order to avoid over-reliance on Europe.

Prices ‘healthy’ but will decline over coming weeks

For now, Van Melle said that the fruit is arriving in the market but at more reduced levels than normal.

Availability remains low of white seedless grapes, which he said are fetching “healthy” prices of around €17 – €17.50 FOT per 5-kilogram carton. That price is slightly above red seedless grapes, but there is also good demand on that category, he said.

One new dynamic this season is that a retailer in Germany – typically a high-paying grape market – has set its prices considerably lower this year at just €12.00 per carton CIF, a level that is only just above cost prices for South African grapes, but definitely under cost prices for the Brazilians.

The decision is having knock-on effects, with other German buyers also trying to pay lower prices. The move has also likely limited average European pricing during the start of the import season, he said.

“Some people are getting nervous. We always get a big wave of fruit before or after Christmas, and surely prices will come down again this year as well. The question is how much and how hard,” he said.

“I foresee a good scenario. My personal expectations are that we should end up on €12 – €13 in January, it might be possible to reach €14. On the other hand, if other importers are agreeing €11 or €12, that will put things under pressure again. If there was only a way to keep all our backs straight that would keep prices good and healthy.”

White seedless shortfall to precede red seedless shortfall?

Van Melle expects a “decent” season out of South Africa this year, with regular volumes. He said the initial supplies have been lighter than expected but would increase significantly from January onwards.

White seedless grape supplies could be in short supply by February, in part as India’s season is running a few weeks later due to the Monsoon rains continuing for longer than normal and delaying pruning. The country’s fruit would normally arrive from around week 7 or 8 but it could be as late as week 10 or 11 this season.

“That will create shortage on white seedless, but on red seedless things are still looking fine with South Africa,” he said.

However, he expected that Chilean grape exports to Europe – which are mainly red seedless – would be impacted by the severe drought in growing regions.

“We’re trying to make an inventory of our suppliers in Chile who can produce a normal crop. Some are reasonably okay and some not okay,” he said. Chile supplies most of Origin Fruit Direct’s red seedless volumes from around weeks 14 – 16 onward until the Egyptian season begins. “So there could be some shortage on the red seedless,” he said.

“Dropping strawberry prices have an impact on imports of Egyptian strawberries”

“Up until Wednesday 4 December there was a daily supply of Egyptian strawberries. There are somewhat lower volumes planned for the coming days due to the Belgian and Dutch strawberries that have fallen in price and that has an effect on the market,” says Alain Tulpin of the Tulpin Group. “Two weeks ago, the prices were around 11 euros for a kilogram of Belgian strawberries. As a result, they started exporting strawberries from Egypt in order to benefit from the high prices.”

Although there is still sufficient demand for strawberries, according to Alain, the Christmas sales has not really started. “We expect the demand for the Christmas period to start over a week from now. The quality of the Egyptian strawberries is generally good, but due to the high prices of the previous two weeks, some growers started picking too early, which had a negative effect on quality. Fortunately there are also a lot of growers who have adhered to the correct standard.”

Import duties

“The acreage of strawberries is still increasing in Egypt, but it is understood that demand is no longer growing as fast, in comparison to a few years ago. Production increased by 50% last year, that last year the exporters were confronted with their export quotas. That is why import duties had to be paid on the Egyptian strawberries at the end of the season, while Moroccan and Spanish strawberries arrive without import duties,” Alain continues.

Russia

“England is still the largest market for Egyptian strawberries, followed by Germany, Scandinavia and the Netherlands,” Tulpin notes. “Belgium is a relatively small importer and France is already switching to Moroccan strawberries on 1 January. Since the Russian ban on Spanish strawberries, the Russian market offers more potential for Egyptian strawberries. Besides, the volume of Egyptian strawberries exported to South Africa is also increasing every year. “

“Ostend: Gateway for Egyptian strawberries”

“Due to the specialisation and the many possibilities of the airport in Ostend, Belgium, we can say that the airport is the gateway for Egyptian strawberries in Europe. Recently the entire fleet of aircraft has been renewed from 40 tonnes to 60 tonnes of aircraft. In a good week we have about 4 to 6 flights a day and so far a good volume of Egyptian strawberries has arrived at the airport in Ostend,” Alain concludes.

Realizing Workplace Gender Equality and Gender Based Violence; on 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 November 26, 2019.  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 Batu, Lume, Bishoftu town and Adea woreda of Labor and Social Affair, Women Children and Youth Office, Justice Office and Police are among the participants.

On the workshop ministry of Labor and Social Affair office presented the newly amended labour law related to women right in the workplace. EHPEA member farm representative from Minaye Flower plc, also shared their experience on women empowerment and the challenge on creation of safe and conducive working environment (gender equality).

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.

Environmental Risk Assessment and Management Training Delivered

EHPEA Training department delivered Environmental Risk Assessment and Management for its member farms from November 26 to 29/2019 in EHPEA meeting hall. Having the objective to creating awareness and the way how farms should manage environmental issues friendly, the training was focused on the contents such as, Importance of Environmental Protection,

In addition to class room training; a one-day practical farm visit conducted at Florensis Abyssinia Plc, to share best practices regarding liquid waste management, compost preparation and solid waste management. During the training a total of 33 farm environmental officers participated.

Workshop advances food fortification

A seminar has been held on advancing food security and food fortification of Ethiopia at BASF. The workshop connects stakeholders from the food value chain and enhances cooperation to address challenges in the food value chain.

The key to ensuring food security in Ethiopia lays in public-private partnerships. A high prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies is a major problem for the nation. The Government of Ethiopia has been working hard to improve food security and food fortification by understanding these prevailing nutrition problems and their consequences, as well as the manifold benefits of addressing these issues.
“We are working with the stack holders starting from the production process storage and transportation of food improvement needed to ensure food safety and quality during processes and to ensure minimum waste.” Andreas Bluethner, director of food fortification and partnership at BASF
The UN estimated that the world population will increase and will have an environmental impact and also affects social issues.

BASF is working on Three major areas “resource, environment and climate,” “food and nutrition “and “quality of life” to provide sustainable solutions for food security and fortification.
“The government, private sectors and international organizations should collaborate to generate multifaceted solutions to ensure sustainable food security” said Gift Mbaya, BASF general manager and business lead for BASF TRO Ethiopia. “Innovation will impact how world will feed the growth of population, decreasing the natural resources, soil degradations and climate change
Ethiopia has set its first National Food and Nutrition Policy in 2018 to fulfill the nation’s ambition to end malnutrition and stunting by 2030, the policy, prepared on the basis of the national nutrition strategy, and programs that have been under implementation since 2008.

Solomon Tadele, Director of Food, Medicine and Health Care says, “this kind of session on food fortification helps to make different analysis on products and their nutrients to fulfill the gap of a fortification based on our context.”

The German chemical company and the largest chemical producer in the world, BASF Group runs six major business segments. This division includes chemicals, performance products, functional materials & solutions, agricultural solutions, nutrition, and oil & gas. Positioned across 80 countries with its subsidiaries and joint ventures, it has 390 production sites in Europe, Asia, Australia, the US, and Africa.

Beside its plant on seed agricultural on Arerti, business solutions concentrated around biological and chemical crops, soil and pest protection, BASF has been working on Capacity building, training, coaching with the government and private sectors on food fortification and nutrition in Ethiopia.

Bill to Liberalise Investment Laws Reaches Council of Ministers

The Council of Ministers has received an amendment bill to the nation’s investment law that is expected to open up the economy to foreign capital. Drafted by the Ethiopian Investment Commission, the bill was sent to the Council early this month.

The drafting process took around a year and was undertaken by the Investment Law Revision Task Force, a team of 17 experts. The last time the investment law was revised was in 2014, while it was legislated in 2012. The revision is expected to open up the logistics, financial and aviation sectors.

In the process of amendment, public consultation was held by the Commission to identify gaps in the investment environment and recommend ways of addressing them. A series of closed-door meetings were also held for the government, private players and development partners.

“They genuinely wanted our feedback and insights to craft robust and effective improvements to the investment laws,” said Sam Rosmarin, chief strategy officer at Komari Beverages, who participated in one of these meetings.

The draft will allow public-private partnerships in the areas of manufacturing of military weapons, international airport transport service, import and export, power distribution through the integrated national grid system and postal services with the exception of courier services.

The draft also plans to partly open logistics service provision, air transport services, inland public transport and freight transport to foreign investment. But non-national investors or businesses not based in Ethiopia must form joint ventures with local players and will have to abide by a share capital cap of 75pc.

Non-nationals will also not be able to hold more than 49pc of shares in companies engaged in advertising, audio-visual production, accounting and auditing, and mass media services. They can also now engage in capital goods leasing and management consultation.

The existing investment law will also be expected to allow the involvement of foreign investors in the financial sector, according to sources close to the case. Foreign involvement in the sector has not been allowed ever since the Dergue regime in 1974.

Although the sector was finally opened to local private players in 1994, the government continued to insist that the regulatory capacity of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) was not developed enough to regulate foreign financial firms. In the event of legislation, opening up of the financial sector will signal one of the first significant economic reforms in line with the recommendations of financial institutions such as the World Bank.
Though positive about the idea of opening up the economy for foreign investment, private players believe that there is a long way to go before the investment environment can be smoothened out.

 

Creating a social accountable and sustainable horticulture business

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.

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

Email: info@ehpea.org

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