H.E. Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Haile Mariam Dessalegn, opened the 6th International Hortiflora Expo 2015 on 25 March 2015 at the Millennium Hall.
At the exhibition SNV sponsored Meki Batu fruit and vegetable growers’ cooperative union, Timret Irrigation Development Marketing Cooperative Union and Balemlay Food Flour Manufacturing Industry, a processor.
In his opening speech the premier stressed that his government will provide the necessary support for investors engaged in the horticulture export industry. “The Country’s fruits and vegetables export is insignificant. As part of the effort to enhance its development, my government has given due attention to increase the export volume of fruits and vegetables by integrating private investors with Ethiopian smallholder farmers in the out grower scheme” said H.E. Haile Mariam Dessalegn.
“While visiting our booth the Prime Minister told us that the Government encourages local producers capable of producing export quality commodities. His encouraging words will energise our members to focus on quality” said Ture Qasim, General Manager, Meki Batu Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Cooperative Union.
The 6th International Hortiflora expo, a high-level international expo, brought together local and international vegetable and flower producers, input suppliers (improved vegetables and fruits seeds, irrigation equipment, fertilisers and chemicals), and buyers from Europe and the Middle East to promote their products as well as learn on available inputs, technologies and suppliers. The Unions and the processor showcased their fruits, vegetables and potato based processed food items and forged sustainable market linkages.
The processed potato food items attracted the attention of several stakeholders. Buyers from the Middle East, Djibouti and Somalia collected detailed information on the product. Other than buyers, banks such as Abyssinia and Dashen explained about the available funding opportunities for expansion of the business.
“I got information on innovative business funding arrangements available in the banks. A DFID funded project called Private Enterprise Programme Ethiopia (PEPE) showed interest to provide guarantee fund to a local Microfinance Institution so that my company can access loan” Birhanu Aragaw, owner, Balemlay Food Flour Manufacturing Industry.
Rutta Firdissa, Horticulture value chain advisor, SNV in Ethiopia, said that Graduation with Resilience to Achieve Sustainable Development (GRAD) exposes private sector actors to reliable and sustainable domestic and international markets, access to affordable and appropriate technologies.
She added, “Most of our unions have benefited from similar events in terms of access to various inputs, promotion skills enhancement opportunities and market linkages. This has created an opportunity for thousands of GRAD households to become members of the unions and benefit from sustainable market linkages”.
Meki Batu, the Union that had participated in the 5th edition of similar Expo, managed to initiate business relationship with Neslmat plc - one of the supermarkets in Saudi Arabia. The union exercised the trial shipment where the buyer covered all the logistics costs. This experience helped the Union to identify its gaps and strengthen its marketing capacity in terms of human power, technology and equipment.
Participating in the event has given the unions and the processing company the opportunity to promote their products, have better understanding of buyer requirements, initiate business relationships with potential buyers and opened an opportunity for access to financial support.
“The Country’s fruits and vegetables export is insignificant. As part of the effort to enhance its development, my government has given due attention to increase the export volume of fruits and vegetables by integrating private investors with Ethiopian smallholder farmers in the out grower scheme” said H.E. Haile Mariam Dessalegn.