Margins suffered in 2018 due to excessive supply, but the market is recovering in 2019How will the future look like for fresh fruit and vegetables in Europe? Will there be a profitable market? These questions have been worrying many exporters in developing countries. However, a profitable market is not just about the European consumer demand. Production volumes and product availability can also significantly influence consumption.Europe continues to increase the total import value of fresh fruit and vegetables from developing countries. These values have actually increased faster than imported product volumes in the past few years. According to statistics, the total import value from developing countries increased 38% in five years, reaching 18.2 billion euros in 2018.Exotic, more expensive fruit that have become more popular with European consumers in recent years, such as blueberries, avocados, mangoes and pomegranates, all helped push these values higher. Sourcing sustainable fresh products, on the other hand, has also become very complex and time consuming, hence more expensive.But growing imports not always means a blessing. In reality, 2018 was a disastrous year for the margins of a large number of exporters. It was a good year in terms of production, but prices were much lower than expected, since the market was forced to absorb an excessive supply of tropical and counter-seasonal fruit from countries such as Peru and South Africa.
Ethiopian Airlines, has launched an innovative capacity development initiative aimed at creating local value in agricultural products. The forward-looking development initiative is tailored to support cooperative unions comprising millions of farmers with innovations and technology, thereby ensure their international market penetration.
While discussing with Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian Group Chief Executive Officer at Ethiopian headquarters, stakeholders drawn from government agencies and farmers’ cooperative unions have expressed their gratitude on the launch of the capacity development program and vowed to work together.
Mr. 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) endeavours.”
Ethiopian sources organic produces directly from the farm and significantly contributes to the import substitution move of the economy.
Agri–Flower and Agri-Lake Flower farms, divisions of Ethio Agri-CEFT, are dedicated to the export of rose cut flowers for markets across the world. The topography and optimum climate of the farms provide suitable conditions for production. The farms have been producing about 40 million stems per annum.
In addition, all farms of Ethio Agri-CEFT exercise:
- Environmentally Sustainability: All of the company’s farms exercise environmentally sustainable practices to cultivate, grow, harvest and pack flowers. Some practices include collecting and storing rain water, use of effective irrigation technology, waste recycling, and limiting the use of chemicals for pest control by combining them with traditional techniques.
- Social responsibility: the company provides a socially responsible safe work environment to sustain fair living conditions for employees and the surrounding community.
Agri-Flower farm began its environmental sustainability plan in 2017. This environmental sustainability plan in 2017. This strategy included the symbiotic development of sheep farming beekeeping and fishery on site.
It has recently begun planting different medicinal and herbal plants such as Rosemary, Thyme, Lavender, Eucalyptus and Neem trees which has insect repellent effects. The company plans on using the essential oils produced by the farms as potential insect pest control on the farm reducing the use of synthetic pesticides in the flower growing process. To ensure adequate processing capacity they have installed an essential oil processor which has the capacity to extract 100 kg of herbs/seeds per hour.
In addition, they extract 7,500 litres of compost tea per day and using it as organic fertilizer. This will help the company to satisfy customers in order to have good head size and long vase life. The company also intends to sell the essential oils to various users in the local and international markets.
The company has received the GlobalGAP certificate.
A half day interactive workshop was held on October 24, 2019 at Magnolia Hotel, Addis Ababa with the intention of strengthening the potential of the Horticulture sector, create a network within key stakeholders and to create opportunities for agri-enterpreneurs specifically youth, women and Small and Medium Enterprises. The workshop also aimed to create a specific country level learning loops and identify the key challenges of the sector.
A Horticulture Mapping Study on valuable vegetables validation has been also presented by a consultant on the day which was commissioned by Agri Pro Focus. A number of challenges and recommendations were presented and discussed in depth with the participants for further enrichment of the study paper. Among the challenges deliberated, lack of small holder farmer/ out grower scheme management such as improve support on availability and quality of inputs, extension service, lack of linkage with micro finance and poor market linkage and poor post-harvest technology available for the small holder farmers, lack of proper system and incentive to input suppliers, less incentives for linkage with commercial farms and lack of effective partnership with development organizations were among the major challenges deliberated.
Accordingly, recommendations have been made that the sector needs specific policy and strategy support, Proper input supply system, extension service and gender inclusion, linkage with education and research and creating effective partnership and planning are among the recommendation made in the event.
Presentation on the results of a research done on pineapple production as an innovation for the horticulture sector. Research paper presented by a researcher and lecturer from Mizan Teferi Agriculture College which aimed to introduce new and better variety of pineapple; Smooth Canyenne for the market. Youth in Horticulture presented inclusive school gardening project which is a creative idea of the social entrepreneurs which was encompassed through Farm Secure Schools Africa (FSSA).
In conclusion, the participants of the workshop have identified major bottlenecks through a lively discussion and reflected a resolving mechanism on main challenges in the Horticulture sector of Ethiopia. Development of a strategy for learning activities on the mentioned challenges and topics were deliberated in length. As a way for ward, Agri pro focus will continue working on finalizing and producing a learning trajectory and it has been emphasized that collaboration of all key stakeholders in the sector is a vital in order to tackle the challenges.
Florida guava growers are experiencing the slower fall season at the moment. Most varieties of guava are available year-round, but production fluctuates with the seasons. During the warmer summer season, guava supplies are stronger, but during fall it’s another story.
Thai and Mexican guava is usually available year-round,” said Rena Mashev of Caribbean Gold. “However, production happens in waves. During the summer, there is a lot of fruit, but right now we are struggling for supply.”
Almost all guava production in Florida is concentrated around the Homestead region. Mashev says growers use plastic or paper bags to cover the fruit on the tree during the growing period in order to protect them from worms. “Each unit is wrapped individually,” she noted. “During the dry season – which is coming now – the fruit tends to become sweeter as the flavor is not diluted by water from excess rain.”
The different varieties
Mashev pointed out four main varieties that are commonly sold in the United States. These are Thai, Florida, Mexican, and Chinese. Thai guava is described as very large, about the size of a baseball. It originated in South East Asia and can have white or pink flesh. Florida guava is smaller with red flesh, while Mexican guava has a particular smell and can be either red or white. Chinese guava is medium sized and has white flesh.
“Thai guava is favored among many consumers,” Mashev said. “Different groups like to enjoy them differently too. Asian buyers typically prefer to eat them while still hard like an apple, and enjoy dipping the fruit in sauces, while others prefer to eat them when they are softer.”
“Thai guava can also be made into a delicious juice,” she added. “All guava are high in Vitamin C and it seems that more people are willing to buy them.”
Retailers getting on board
While guava has often been seen as an exotic fruit that has limited shelf space, some retailers are prepared to promote them more. Mashev shared that some Publix supermarkets have placed information cards about guava in store, with information about the fruit and how to eat them. She hopes that this will encourage consumption.
“They just started this year, so hopefully we will start seeing results from this campaign from next year,” she said. “We pack our guava in 10lb boxes for supermarkets and these typically contain between 10 and 12 units. Thai guava is enjoying steady demand but there are still many people that don’t know what it is and how to eat them. We hope that more people get to know guava and can enjoy them.”
Five Dutch companies are set to engage in floriculture development on 500 hectares of land in Amhara regional state at a place called Kunzila.
This was revealed during a discussion held between Chief Administrator of Amhara regional state Temesgen Tiruneh and Ambassador of the Netherlands to Ethiopia, Bengt van Loosdrecht.
During the discussion, Ambassador Bengt van Loosdrecht pledged to provide €20 million support to improve the livelihoods of residents of the area.
The development projects to be undertaken with the stated funding will benefit close to 10,000 residents, it was noted.
Temesgen Tiruneh said the regional state is working to maintain peace and attract investment. He also added the people have to play their part to promote peace in all areas so as to benefit from investments in the region.
“Human Rights Due Diligence as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy” workshop organized by Fair and Sustainable Ethiopia
A half day interactive workshop was held on “Human rights due diligence as part of corporate social responsibility strategy” of private companies on October 17, 2019 at Harmony Hotel, Addis Ababa.
The workshop created responsiveness and harmony among the participants on the prominence of due diligence by producer companies towards human rights, social accountability and ensuring food security.
In the event, various companies and organizations such as; flower exporters, Celtic, Universal Plastics factory, Solidaridad East Africa, EHPEA and other key stakeholders took part in the interactive workshop.
The organizers; Fair and Sustainable Ethiopia stated that the business doing environment in Ethiopia is exciting but becoming a challenge through time due to the success of companies depends on how they respond to dynamism and predictability of its business doing environment. With this in mind, the topic of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as part of human rights due diligence become crucial to investors, stakeholders as well as customers in the market.
Thus, the workshop was aimed and emphasized in improving the response of investors towards their employees and their surroundings to ensure business sustainability as well as to ensure food security to the surrounding livelihoods.
Due diligence steps to be followed by the companies were reviewed and most common human right risks such as risks to workers’ rights, suppliers and community rights were assessed and mitigation actions were deliberated in depth by the participants.
A tool for businesses to ensure social sustainability and contribute to food security was also presented by Fair and Sustainable Ethiopia which was developed as part of the Follow the Food (FtF) Project. The business tool helps companies and public-private partnerships to gain insight on the consequences of the choices they make, improve their due diligence and social impact assessment, and gain insight how companies can contribute to ensuring food security. Website: http://www.fairandsustainable.nl/business-tool
As a way forward, the participants and the organizers made a remark that all stakeholders should cooperate to ensure fair and sustainable businesses in Ethiopia and strive to ensure food security and improve livelihoods of communities.
The National Quality Infrastructure Development Project (NQIDP) of Ministry of Industry, financed by World Bank, conducted a Need Assessments and Quality Standard Status of fruit and vegetable production and exports, leather processing, textile industry, honey production and processing in Ethiopia, held at Nexus Hotel October 10, 2019.
On the validation workshop the study team presented their findings along with their proposed recommendation. The study identified the challenges and gaps across the fruit and vegetables value chain that need to be addressed; mainly in relation to input supplies, farming practice, transport services, storage, processing, distribution and marketing.
The study proposed recommendations that would help to improve the fruit and vegetable production and exports standards in the value chain, especially in the area of quality infrastructure issues that relates to standards, testing, inspection, certification, calibration. Hence, the study proposed fruit and vegetables sectoral improvement priority topics and institutions that could contribute in providing the services and addressing the priority topics.
In this regards, Ministry of Technology and Innovation; Agricultural Transformation Agency, EHPEA and Ministry of Transport were identified to provide the services and play major roles in improving the quality standards.
Accordingly, EHPEA was selected to provide training on Global GAP Certification (for pre-harvest and post harvest activities). In addition to this, EHPEA representatives also advised that EHPEA can also provide onsite and classroom IPM Training and the study team well considered the comments given by the representatives.
The project manager of NQIDP concluded the validation workshop by highlighting that they will consider all the inputs given by participants and key stakeholders identify as service providers to be ready to provide the recommended services.
The Addis Ababa City Administration has lifted the heavy-duty truck restriction for daylight hours on. It is remembered that starting July 8, the administration imposed restrictions on truck movement in the city during the daytime until 8:00PM to reduce traffic in the capital. Medium sized trucks, like those with a capacity of 3.5 tons or less were excluded. Now, however all trucks can move freely in Addis on Saturday.
Semere Jelalu, Traffic Safety and Management Deputy Head at Addis Ababa City Transport Programs Management Office, told Capital that since the ratification of the directive trucks were not allowed to move through the city between 6:30 am and 8pm except on Sunday and holidays.
“Now we have added Saturday and Sunday and holidays for trucks to drive in the day time in the city,” Semere said.
Several businesses said their work was negatively impacted by the directive. Because most intercity transportation requires traveling through Addis Ababa the new law forced those shipping goods across the country, to wait on the edge of the Capital until night. Others like exporters of fresh goods including flowers and meat exporters were disappointed by the city’s decision. They claimed that their products were perishable and suffered from the delay.
Most of the flower farms and abattoirs are out of the city but need to transport their product to Bole International Airport every day for export.
Even though most of the businesses have expressed their opinions, the Ethiopian Bottled Water and Soft Drinks Manufacturing Industries Association (EBWSDMIA) has come up with concrete evidence showing the advantage and disadvantage to the water industry.
According to the information from EBWSDMIA, the study is undertaken by professionals from Addis Ababa University and the outcome submitted to the Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Transport, Office of the Prime Minister and City Transport Bureau.
The study argued that bottlers stock increased at their production site because they did not have ample time to distribute the product since some of the industries were forced to halt one of the three production shifts followed by layoffs of one third of the employees.
They also expressed the concern that it is not easy to do business at night because of security problems, and infrastructure like adequate street lights banks and labor issues.
“The study insists that small trucks up to 3.5 tons of capacity run in the city from 10 am to 4 pm. This means it pushes bottlers to expand the number of small trucks for product distribution which increased the number of vehicles in the road,” Ashenafi Merid, head of the association said.
The study that Capital reviewed recommended that at least medium trucks should be allowed for such kind of business or the hour limits be reduced either in the morning or night-time.
Ashenafi told Capital that the association leaders have gotten the chance to meet and explained the barriers for several city and federal officials including Girma Birru, Macro Economic Advisor of the Prime Minister.
He believed that the current decision of the city administration allowing trucks to move on Saturday is a good contribution for the economy.
Owner and General Manager of Tinaw businesses plc. Mr. Tesfaye G/Hiwot initiated a life skill training for its middle and higher management staff which were provided by Serapta Lifestyle Management plc. The training aimed to improve the life style of employees directly as well as to boost productivity through achieving better health of employees.
The training emphasized on life skills, better life styles, health and welfare, ergonometric aspects of individuals and others. The training delivered at the premise of the farm targeting middle and higher management of Tinaw which then extended to all employees through in-house training. Employees of the farms appreciated the initiative and stated that the training workshop was a life and career changing program which could be interpreted to personal and professional life.
Tinaw Business Share Company was established in 2006, by five shareholders, with the major objective of engaging in various business portfolios in a phase by phase basis with the initial focus on horticulture areas, floriculture in particular. The Company’s head quarter is in Addis Ababa – the Capital City of Ethiopia. The farm is located in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Regional State, Guraghe Zone, Ezsha District, Ziba-botto Village, 175 kms South West of Addis Ababa, at an altitude of 1970 meters above sea level.
The Company started operation on 7 hectares of greenhouse coverage and has undergone subsequent rose flowers expansion projects. Presently, the Company grows seventeen varieties of rose flower on 26.6 hectares of greenhouse coverage and exports to the international market, mainly The Netherlands. The Company has become one of the most competitive companies in the international floriculture business which is characterized by aggressive competition. It generates considerable foreign exchange to the country and has provided job opportunities for 900 workers at present. Noting its competitiveness and the already established management capacity in the floriculture sector, the Company planned to undertake rose flower expansion project.
Apart from rose flowers, the Company has secured 54 hectares of land for vegetables and has started growing for the local market at the initial stage of development with the ultimate plan for export market in phase by phase basis.
To this effect, the Company has put in place the major infrastructural facilities such as water supply along with a modern filtration system, electricity, and drip irrigation lines on 10 hectares open field. The Farm is also staffed with the required professional, and has started growing various vegetables on 10 hectares of land on open field. The flower farm has been engaged in various corporate social responsibility activities for the benefit of the local community.