After nearly five years of implementation, the Feed the Future, USAID and AGP-Agribusiness Market Development Program has reached more than one million farmers and created over 6,000 full time jobs in the agribusiness sector. The activity’s interventions also facilitated $27.5 million in investment into Ethiopia’s agribusiness sector, according to major stakeholders on hand project handover workshop, held February 16, 2016.
USAID Ethiopia Mission Director, Dennis Weller, State Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Wondirad Mandefro, and Agricultural Transformation Agency Director, Khalid Bomba made remarks at the event. In addition, Professor Tekalign, former advisor to the PM as well as Ethiopia Commodity Exchange CEO, Ermias Eshetu, delivered speeches about their work with the USAID program.
Through training, USAID helped farmers to improve their agriculture practices on more than 260,000 hectares of land. Through the resulting reduction in post-harvest losses, USAID supported over $182 million of farm gate sales of coffee, sesame, maize, chickpea, wheat and honey.
The USAID flagship agribusiness activity also partnered with banks and financial institutions to facilitate $174 million in loans, giving farmer’s cooperatives access to financial resources used to increase production, aggregation, sales and profits for farmers. A more vibrant agriculture and agro-processing sector puts more money in the pockets of farmers.
Using a matching-grants approach, USAID delivered nearly 400 awards worth $14 million which supported farmer organizations and private companies to identify, install and use new technologies to become more efficient and competitive. Industrial processors, testing and grading equipment, modern warehousing, and improved varieties of seed assisted farmers to increase yields, reduce post-harvest losses, and export $326 million of agricultural commodities. With USAID support, hundreds of Ethiopian agribusiness leaders prepared for and presented their products and services at 20 international trade shows and conferences on four continents, putting Ethiopian products on the world map.
Beyond the technical aspects of the activity, USAID also increased the sector’s business skills by training over 156,000 farmers, women leaders and private sector partners on financial management, business plan writing, marketing and leadership skills. USAID increased the capacity of 54 farmer cooperative unions representing over 2,500 primary cooperatives and 1.9 million members through training and strategic investments. The project exceeded nearly all of its targets by well over 100%.