Investing in entrepreneurs is key for Ethiopia to reach middle income country status

Ethiopia is implementing the second phase of its five-year growth and transformation plan (GTPII) to achieve Middle Income Country status by 2025. Micro and small scale businesses and entrepreneurial activities are expected to play a strong role in this transformation and to become a spring board for developing a vibrant private sector. This effort is supported by close collaboration with global development partners.

The USAID AGP-LMD project is contributing to GTPII by building the capacity of entrepreneurs involved in the country’s meat and live animal value chains. Teshome Teresa, age 38, is one of these entrepreneurs.

entreprenuresoriginalMarried with three children, Teshome owns a fattening farm in the South West Shewa zone of Oromia state called Badessa Koricha Kebele in Waliso town – about 120 kilometers West of Addis. Four years ago, Teshome took a risk and decided to use the profit that he earned from fattening sheep in three cycles to diversify his business. With a net profit of slightly over 63,215 ETB, Teshome added cattle, pigs and goats to his stock. Additionally, he decided to engage in dairy, honey, fishery and vegetable production to generate more income.

A year after diversifying his business, Teshome (pictured right) knew that he needed additional knowledge to improve his operations. He approached USAID AGP-LMD seeking training. Seeing his potential and success thus far, AGP-LMD engaged Teshome in a variety of awareness creation activities including animal handling, feeding, transportation, business management and leadership. He also participated in a study tour that visited other meat and live animal businesses. Furthermore, Teshome became involved in business-to- business meetings.

These trainings, coupled with the study tour and opportunity to meet other business owners, transformed Teshome’s company. “My eyes have been opened,” Teshome described in reference to his training. “I used to lack the skill, confidence and courage. But with the help of USAID, I now know what is possible. And most importantly, if the benefit from one business is lost, it will be compensated with the income from the other business.” Teshome’s cattle are now given feed twice a day and leftover feed which he used to dump is given to his pigs. Prior to working with AGP-LMD, he fattened only 100 sheep. Now he is fattening up to 40-50 cows and oxen, 200 sheep, 100 goats, and 200 pigs in different rounds.

The improvements in his business have not only greatly impacted his own family but also his community. His family used to eat just once per day and lived in a small rented house. His children rarely attended school due to a lack of a school uniforms, barely enough food to eat, and constant health battles. Now Teshome’s family owns a condominium in Addis Ababa and his children regularly attend better schools. Because of the new growth in his businesses, Teshome employs eight full time staff and provides 50 part-time jobs. The community is also earning an income from collecting remnants of crops to provide to his animals. The West Shewa Zone office of Agriculture even uses Teshome’s businesses as a model and experience exchange center to share with others the practices of agro-business diversification.

AGP-LMD understands the importance of investing in entrepreneurs like Teshome. It is those that have the motivation to improve their operations that will help propel Ethiopia to its desired middle income status. AGP-LMD works closely with actors in the middle segment of the meat and live animal value chains, and assists them to expand their market reach and become more efficient enterprises.


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