Towards tackling bottlenecks hampering export

According to the Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration, currently the export sector faces various challenges and among others the absence of sufficient logistic system, warehouses and congestion in ports.

In addition to these, various criteria and standard for export products introduced by importing countries further hampered the sector activities.

The recently announcement of the European Union new requirement for the entry of Ethiopian agricultural products to the market can be mentioned as the case in point and has been a worrisome phenomenon for Ethiopian exporters.

Some of the sectors which are expected to be impacted if the new criterion fully implemented is the horticulture sector. If the sector failed to fulfill the criterion, the nation might lose the hard currency garnering from the sector.

Worse to these, some exported Ethiopian products after reaching to the European markets deported back because of failure to full fill the criteria and such a situation further aggravate the situation.

To bring the long lasting solution to the bottleneck witnessed in the sector and to mitigate problems that may arise in the future, way outs are forwarded by the stake holders. Some of the forwarded solutions are capacity building of producers and exporters.

In addition, establishing new system which enables to give response to the problems is recommended.

The horticulture sector as mentioned above is repeatedly asked to full fill various requirements and to with stand the challenges, it crafted projects and prepared for its implementation. For the efficient execution, the Ethiopian Flower, Vegetable and Fruits Association recently signed agreement with two international organizations.

Totally 350 thousand Dollars is allocated for the implementation of the project and the main objective of the project is to identify the foreign trade constraints and fill the gaps and in so doing trainings will be provided and knowledge transfer also realized.

During the occasion, the Ethiopian Flower, Vegetable, Fruits Producers and Exporters Association Executive Director Tewodros Zewdie Said that, the objectives of the project is to enable stake holders to full fill the criterion requested by the importing European countries. In addition, helps to coordinate stake holders comprised in the value chain and to perform their job based on knowledge and skills.

The training will be provided with the support of cutting age technology and helps actors engaged in import and export trade in East Africa to conduct their export business in the better way. The training will be provided by Trade Mark Africa Company.

As to Tewodros, though the Ethiopian Horticulture sector is reached to the higher level of performing trade, as compared to the sector potential, the products are not sufficiently produced and exported. Shortage of better skilled producers attributed to the witnessed mal performance. ‹‹The horticultural industry needs well trained productive force” said the director and this will be realized through providing better training. He further said that, the shortcomings witnessed in the sector will be resolved through capacity buildings.

When the training begins the flower, vegetable and fruits producers will obtain the trainings in their local areas and issues raised by the importing countries will be discussed and solutions will be forwarded.

Among the criterion required from the horticulture sector which must be full filled are social affairs such as proper administration of workers, utilization of pesticide on farm, handling and utilization of water.

After the trainee discussed the outcome will be utilized as inputs for the implementation of the project and for production and export performance.

The Trade Mark Africa Country Director Ewnetu Taye on his part said that, the project enables the horticulture sector to tackle its problems witnessed in the export business.

It also enables to resolve the problems observed in export standard of the products and fill the technology gaps pervasive in the sector. The technology can identify new working deficiencies and simply notify to the members working in the value chain.

Moreover, it enables to change the manual system conducted in the past in to the new digitized system. Members in their local areas obtain information and capacity building trainings easily through the network system and can boost their production and export.

As mentioned above, the problems of the sector was emanated from lack of working method and skill problem. Hence, through providing continuous training on production and export to the members of the association realizing knowledge transfer and bringing change will be realized.

In the past, the members of the horticulture association only knew how to produce rather than in what standard the products are produced, what the market demand and this knowledge gap will be bridged through the mentioned project.

According to Ewnetu, the main value of the project is training exporters on how to prepare their export products to the level of the required criterion stipulated by the importing countries and to conduct their export in line with the requirement.

As to him, sometimes some exported products deported back again because of not full filling of the required criterion.

Therefore, the provision of capacity building training to the actors working in the value chain is expected to address the problems.

As to Ewnetu, for the accomplishment of the project 350 thousand Dollars is allocated and the main task of his organization is developing the system, supplying inputs vital for the system and providing training to the members of the association to utilize the system and the technology. The training will be lasted for 6 months and after producing well qualified persons from the members of the association all tasks will be led by the association. As to him, the project will bring a difference in the sector and cited the effectiveness of the system witnessed in the 14 African countries.

He also said that, his organization engaged not only on technology transfer but also in some construction of infrastructure. Particularly in addition to enhancing construction of infrastructure, it participates in the investment activities. His organization accomplished the construction of digital cargo tracking system, electric system and the one stop shot started from Port of Mombasa located in Kenya stretched to six Eastern African countries. Moreover, it totally changed the one stop shot and could reduce the transaction cost by 300%.

He also said that, in order to reduce the transaction and logistics costs, similar projects are undergoing which enable to connect Ethiopia with Somali land and Ethiopia with Djibouti. Trade Mark Africa started its first project in Kenya and currently it works in 14 projects in various African countries

For the accomplishment of the project in addition to the Trade Mark Africa, the European Union and the French Development Organization allocated money and on its part to support the Ethiopian Flower, Vegetable and Fruits Producers and Exporters association, it agreed to provide more than 8.15 million birr for the accomplishment of the project.

The Ethiopian Flower, Vegetable and Fruit sector is the major foreign currency earner next to Coffee and in 2015 EC budget year, it earned more than 658.3 million Dollars and out of it flower export earned 566 million Dollar.

As it is understood, agriculture is the main stay of the nation Economy and the means of living for more than 85 % of the population.

It also contributed 75 % to the nation export earnings nevertheless, the sector is subsistence, traditional and rain fed in which vulnerable to the extreme weather condition.

The agriculture products are exported in their raw form which intern affects their competency in the world market.

The newly introduced European Union instruction to the agricultural products further compromises the nation foreign currency earning capacity. Therefore, through the mentioned project and by deploying other mechanism protecting the nation export from risk is essential.



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