Attracting investment to the horticulture sector in Ethiopia

Ministry of Agriculture and EHPEA hosted a public-private dialogue webinar on ‘Attracting investment to the horticulture sector in Ethiopia’ today June 11, 2020. The webinar was a great platform to present the horticulture sector-major bottlenecks and the way forward discussed at length. On the opening of the webinar dialogue H.E Ato Umer Husen Minister, Ministry of Agriculture stated that the horticulture sector is the country’s major foreign currency contributor next to coffee with a promising potential to solve food inflation in the near future. He also added that the Ministry will continue on creating such kind of platform to solve the challenges of the sector by working closely with the sector players.

The Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association, Executive Director Ato Tewodros Zewdi, briefly articulated the main challenges of the sector such as; to identify horticulture cluster for new investment and expansion, design a horticulture policy, the betterment of electric power and internet infrastructure, investment incentives for input suppliers and propagators, out-grower scheme and cool chain management system which needs a quick action to support the investment.

Pertinent government officials, H.E Ato Wondale Habtamu state Minister of MoA, Ato. Hailu Jelde Commissioner, Oromia Investment Commission, Dr. Getahum mekonnen D/bureau head of Amhara Industry, and investment bureau expressed their readiness to support the sector. The webinar concluded by taking assignments to address the mentioned challenges and potential to the responsible government institutions.

Company representatives from the existing horticulture producer and exporters participated on the webinar.

COVID-19 Inflicts Close to 25 Mn USD Loss on Ethiopian Horticulture

Addis ababa, May 4/2020( ENA) Ethiopia has lost about 25 million USD from the horticulture sub-sector since the outbreak of the global COVID-19, according to Ethiopian Horticulture Producer-Exporters Association.

Ethiopian Horticulture Producer-Exporters Association (EHPEA) Executive Director, Tewodros Zewdie said even if “detail appraisals are going on, preliminary assessments  show that about 25 million USD has been compromised or lost due to COVID-19.”

The months February and May are considered peak season for flower export, he stated, adding that “we can (therfore) say that this year’s peak season has been compromised a lot. But we are exerting relentless efforts to minimize the impact and not to lay off workers.”

According to him, “a number of adverse impacts have been observed in the horticulture supply chain after the advent of Coronavirus pandemic.”

Countries have shut down their borders and airlines interrupted operations. These inhibited the free movement of export products.

Moreover “we are dealing with perishable products that should be on the shelve of supermarkets as soon as possible. This requires smart perishable logistics and at the same time free movement of goods from one border to the other,” the executive director elaborated.

Tewodros pointed out that everything was compromised as the number of end users and customers were all in lockdown and not accessing the products. This had adverse ramifications on companies operating in Ethiopia.

“It was a kind of existential challenge for them,” he noted, detailing that they [horticulture companies] had to finance a number of costs like cost of labor, fertilizer, and chemicals without  sales proceeds.

Rescheduling bank loans, financing interests on principal loan, and temporary suspension of the 3.8 dollar payment for every kilogram flower exported are among the encouraging measures taken by the government, Tewodros pointed out.

The executive director stated that horticulture companies had not been earning income while they paid salaries to workers. Thus the support extended by the government through the provision of working capital loan  is appreciable, he said.

Tewodros stressed that “laying off these workers is compromising the overall existence of the industry.” The workers on payroll are the backbone of the industry as a lot has been invested on their skills.

Generally, concerted efforts are critical to mitigate the adverse ramifications of the pandemic, he noted, further stating that “this sector has proved successful in Ethiopia. Even if it is quite young, it has scored glittering success in the last 10 years. So the danger looming on the sub-sector should be managed in a prudent and pragmatic manner in order not to lose the positive trickle downs to the economy as well.

The executive director underscored that the sub-sector is bringing hundreds of millions of dollars to the country. On top of that about 80 percent of its workforce is women.

Therefore, addressing the challenges of the sub-sector is ensuring the wellbeing of those that are benefiting directly or indirectly from horticulture, according to him,

Fortunately, as a number of European countries like Germany, Switzerland and others have now started opening up “there will be an increase in terms of volume of export.”

Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association has 126 member companies, about 99 percent of which are active producer-exporters of cut flowers, fruit and vegetables.

Horticulture is one of the top five export earners in Ethiopia.


Ministry to Introduce Contract Farming

The Ministry of Agriculture has drafted a proclamation to introduce contract farming. For the first time, farmers will be able to arrange contracts with buyers, determining prices and what they will produce in an agreed upon time frame.The new bill, which has been two years in the making, was sent to the Council of Ministers at the beginning of January 2020. The Council forwarded it to the House of Federation for comment, since the issue directly concerns the regional states.

Existing laws do not adequately address agricultural production contracts, according to the bill.”Thus it has become necessary to put a comprehensive legal framework in place that facilities transfer of technology, knowledge and skills, and market linkage between producer and contractor to improve production and productivity,” reads the bill.The new scheme is expected to lay out a framework that allows agro-processing industries, investors, hotels, supermarkets and foreign investors to guarantee they will receive enough product to fulfil their demand.

Agricultural production contracts can be initiated through an offer by the producer or contractor; any government institution or non-governmental organisation involved in developmental activities can also initiate and facilitate such agreements.

The bill will introduce two types of contract farming agreements. The first type involves a contractor who is obligated to supply the inputs to the producers. Under this type of contract, the contractor provides the technology, technical assistance or finance needed for production. However, the price of the inputs cannot be higher than the prevailing local market price of the product.

Under the second type, the contractor has to supply the inputs to the producer only if there is a mutual agreement between the parties. If the contractor does not provide the necessary inputs, then payment must be issued to the producer. “The growth in demand for certain agricultural products was very low,” said Sani Redi, state minister for Agriculture, “and the relationship between the farmers and the rest of the value chain wasn’t strong enough to design a legal framework for contract farming.”

The contract must contain the parties’ personal information, the purpose and objective of the agreement, the size of the farm, the parties’ rights and obligations, production quality and quantity and the pricing model. It should also include the type of technical assistance that will be provided by the contractor, provisions for intellectual property, provisions for events considered to be force majeures, issues of succession, assignment of rights, duration of the contract, dispute resolution mechanisms, and the agreed upon dates.

Force majeures include extremely high or low rainfall or temperatures, floods, fires, landslides, earthquakes, diseases, and other unfortunate events depending on the details of the agreement. In such cases, the contract determines who will be financially responsible for the loss, according to the bill.

In addition, the parties can also agree to obtain insurance coverage against such force majeures with an understanding of who pays the premium for the insurance.The duration of the contract depends on the nature of the contract and production method; however, the Ministry of Agriculture may determine the duration with a special directive depending on the nature of the agreement.”We expect the bill to be legislated by the end of the year,” Sani said.

Even though the bill will help modernise the agricultural sector, it is not a long-term solution to the country’s need for sustainable food security, according to an agricultural economist who asked to remain anonymous. It is only applicable to a limited number of products, including oilseeds, sugarcane and sesame, because the country’s current levels of production do not satisfy the demand. The remainder is imported from foreign sources at a high cost, but this new bill will help fill in the gap, according to him.

“The scheme has to assume the floor price of the product at the time of the delivery, considering there might be price fluctuations,” the expert said.

Ethiopian Wins ‘International Air Cargo Marketer Of The Year’ Award

Addis Ababa, March 2, 2020 (FBC) –Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) Cargo and Logistics Services, has won the ‘International Air Cargo Marketer of the Year’ Award.Ethiopian, Africa’s largest network cargo operator and multi-award winner, won the award at the 2020 STAT International Award for Excellence in Air Cargo which was held last week in Mumbai, India.

It won the award for its valuable contribution to the air cargo industry in a highly competitive and one of the fastest growing markets in the world, said the airlines in a statement.

Commenting on the award, Ethiopian Group CEO Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, remarked, “We are honored to have won the ‘International Air Cargo Marketer of the Year’ award which bears testimony to our leading cargo and logistics services in Africa and different parts of the world, catalyzing multi-faceted growth in all the regions we serve.

We have been investing heavily in facilities and freighters which enabled us to continuously expand our services and deliver safe, secure, dependable and competitive cargo and logistics services worldwide. The award will spur us to further excel in our operations.”

Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services has built the largest cargo terminal in Africa with a capacity of close to 1 million tons annually.It delivers cargo services spanning across 57 international destinations in Africa, the Gulf, Middle East, Asia, North Americas, Latin America and Europe with 10 B777F and two B737F aircrafts.

In the 2018/19 fiscal year, Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services uplifted a total of 432,417,404 kg cargo.

Ethiopian Airlines Launches Sustainability Initiative To Support Local Farmers

Ethiopian Airlines Group has launched an innovative capacity development initiative aimed at creating local value in agricultural products.

The airline said the initiative was tailored towards supporting cooperative unions comprising millions of farmers with innovations and technology, thereby ensuring their international market penetration.

While discussing with Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian Group Chief Executive Officer at Ethiopian headquarters, recently, stakeholders drawn from government agencies and farmers’ cooperative unions expressed their gratitude on the launch of the capacity development programme and vowed to work together.

Tewolde on his part remarked: “We are delighted to have launched the initiative which is geared towards enhancing the livelihood of Ethiopian farmers as well as supporting them in competing in the global market place. We will keep sharing our experience and underpin the implementation of the import substitution strategy of our country with consistent and progressive local value creation (LVC) endeavors.”

Ethiopian sources organic produces directly from the farm and significantly contributes to the import substitution move of the economy.

Kenyan traders resort to Ethiopia for tomato imports

Kenya is now importing tomatoes from Ethiopia to bridge the market deficit that has seen the commodity’s prices more than double in the past one month.

A single tomato is currently retailing at Sh30 in most parts of the country up from between Sh5 and 10.Traders who spoke to the Star said that the price of the imported tomatoes has also gone up  and now costs Sh4,000 per crate compared to last year’s price of Sh2, 000.

Once in Kenya, this is  divided into three categories  with a large crate retailing at Sh 18,00o,  Sh 11,000 for the medium crate and the Sh4, 000 for the small crate.

Last year, the large crate retailed at Sh8,000 while the Medium and small crates retailed at Sh4, 500 and Sh2, 000 respectively.Traders have warned of a continued shortage blamed on changing rain patterns that has affected production.

Tomatoes are 95 per cent water, with most varieties soaking up summer rains to become pump and juicy on the vine. The weather forecast for March-April-May (MAM) 2020 shows that enhanced rainfall is expected; however above average rainfall is expected across the country.

 The expected rainfall is likely to be higher than the long-term average amounts (above normal) for the season. The climatic change has had huge impact on tomato production as the vegetable is fairly adaptable and grows well in warm conditions in optimum temperatures of 20 -25 degrees during the day and 15 -17 degrees at night.

“The current change of climatic conditions has led to very low yields on our own farms. It is also expensive to transport the tomatoes because they are perishable and also the crate has little produce” John Gichoke, a trader at Nairobi’s Wakulima Market said.

According to the National Farmers Service (NFS), tomato farming is appropriate during the dry season as the crop is less prone to diseases such as tomato blight, leaf curling and powdery mildew which cause more than half of the losses in affected plants.

“I need to sustain my family because the economy is tough at the moment. After importing the tomatoes , dividing into different quantities is what brings in the little profit.” Mutuma Joseph, a trader at Nairobi’s Muthurwa Market said.

“We have to sell the tomatoes at a higher price because it is also expensive to purchase from the Ethiopian traders and the goods are also perishable therefore we incur losses when some of the tomatoes arrive when they are already decayed.” Joy Muhambe, a trader at Nairobi’s Fig Tree market said.

Figures from the latest inflation report by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) food basket, indicates that there was an increase in the price of tomatoes from Sh90.28 to Sh95.78 a kilo, a rise of 6.1 per cent.

In Ethiopia, tomato price is imposed by intermediates that usually set a low farm-gate price to boost their profit margin at end-markets.

According to a study conducted in Ethiopia, 98 per cent of the total tomato production is sold in the market while merely two per cent is used for household consumption. Kenya grows more than 400,000 tonnes of the vegetable every year, which corresponds to seven per cent of its total horticultural production making it one of sub-Saharan Africa’s top tomato producers.

EHPEA Launched a Sexual Reproductive Health Right (SRHR) Project

A Sexual Reproductive Health Right (SRHR) project designed to address the floriculture industry workers health, wellbeing, gender equality and create a decent working environment; launched on February 05, 2020 at Capital Hotel.

The project funded by Danish Family Planning Association and will be implemented in partnership with Ethiopian Horticulture Producers Exporters Association (EHPEA), Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU) , & Family Guidance Association Ethiopia FGAE), on a selected 20 EHPEA member farms and organizations who are dealing with agriculture horticulture sector who are a member of Ethiopian Employers Federation.

On the launching event different stakeholders from government and non-governmental organization, beneficial farm management representatives, Confederation of Industrial Employers Federation, Ethiopian employers Federation, UNFPA were in attendance.

The opening remark given by MOLSA Industrial Peace Relation Directorate Director Mr. Fikadu Gebru, and Mr. Tewodros Zewdie, EHPEA Executive Director and closing remark by Dr. Batri Reshu, Clinical Director of FGAE.

How utilising the latest fogging technology will keep your crops happy and healthy

With growers looking to optimise their crop growth and the consistent control of their environment, the options and different formulas to success are vast.

The importance of a synergistic relationship between heat and humidity is an important challenge to overcome. To ensure you’re growing a happy and healthy plant it is important to promote the most suitable environment.

Higher levels of humidity or setting the incorrect temperature in your greenhouse will cause the environment to be too wet and bring stress to the plants. Stressed plants are more prone to fungus, pests and insects.

The use of fogging systems in commercial growing is tipped to be the next industry standard; Bridge Greenhouses, based in the UK, are expanding their product base by teaming up with a German innovator to bring their latest automated fogging solutions to British greenhouses.

This latest high-pressure fogging technology is paving the way for greater control of any climate, with the thin fog providing an increased humidity and cooling effect, to give plants the optimum growing conditions.

The new kit sees water pressures supplied into the air within the ranges of 70-100 bar releasing a fog via high-pressure nozzles. The fog evaporates and withdraws heat energy from the air so that two effects can be achieved simultaneously: Cooling and humidification.

With low humidity levels, comes slow or sometimes no rate of photosynthesis, therefore it is crucial to create the correct environment for the crop. Giving plants the appropriate humidity levels will allow them to flourish due to the opening of the pores on the leaf; this results in deep breathing and no risk of excessive water loss.

The industry standard droplet size of the fog needs to be smaller than 20 micrometres if you want good cooling performance and quick evaporation. However, Bridge’s fogging system produces miniscule droplets of less than 5 micrometres that evaporate before forming on the plant, meaning this system produces a uniformed and healthy crop with minimal risk of fungus wilting and insects.

Bridge’s fogging systems can be designed to suit any greenhouse structure and automated to work alongside other greenhouse technologies already being implemented.

Bridge also specialise in the design of greenhouse structures, biomass heating and vertical farming solutions.

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.

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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