USAID’s Agribusiness Market Development program celebrates achievements in a ceremony to honor the country’s farmers and agribusiness leaders
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 16, 2016 – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) today transitioned hundreds of undertakings of its Agribusiness Market Development activity to partners and government agencies to assure the sustainability and continuation of the work achieved. “The next five years will prove Ethiopia can meet its own food needs while impressing the world with high quality products,” said USAID Mission Director Dennis Weller.
After nearly five years of implementation, the activity has reached more than one million farmers and created nearly 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.
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 $189 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 $137 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 more than 400 awards worth in excess of $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 $160 million of agriculture 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 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 Agribusiness Market Development is the Feed the Future initiative’s flagship activity in Ethiopia and represents USAID’s contribution to the Government of Ethiopia‘s Agricultural Growth Program. The $3.5bn global hunger and food security initiative sustains the U.S. Government´s commitment as one of Ethiopia’s largest partners in developing the agriculture sector, which is a fundamental cornerstone of the Ethiopian economy.
Site: AllAfrica News: Ethiopia