Ethiopia: Strengthening Pulses, Oilseeds, Spices Market LinkagesFriday, November 27, 2015 > 10:10:51
(All Africa By Alazar Shiferaw)
Recently, the 5th Annual International Conference on pulses, oilseeds and spices aimed at strengthening the business linkage within their sectors serving as spring board for the expansion of international trade and investment, sharing experiences among others was held in Addis.
Opening the Conference held at the Sheraton Addis, President Dr. Mulatu Teshome said, "The pulses, oilseeds and spices sector is one of the largest components of Ethiopia's agricultural sector and it immensely contributes to Ethiopia's economic growth nearly next to coffee. Ethiopia currently produces over 400,000 metric tons of chickpea annually and is one of the top ten largest chickpea and sesame seeds producer in the world."
The President further said that through developing the pulses, oilseeds and spices including sesame and chickpea value chains, it is envisaged that Ethiopia could be positioned in both the global value chain and global supply chain by modernizing its agribusiness and making all the necessary investments in the food processing industry.
Dr. Mulatu further said that about five million Ethiopian smallholder farmers are relying on the production of oilseeds and pulses, particularly on sesame and chickpea for the livelihood. Hence, developing these value chains is an important part of Ethiopia's quest for informational economic development from low to high productivity by increasing yields, processing and exporting, the President added.
He further said that Ethiopia needs sustainable world market growth in commensurate with its economic growth. "It is hoped that this sector will further strengthen and expand existing and new market linkages and outlets so that the sector can optimally contribute to the overall development perspective of Ethiopia."
As one of the largest producers of chickpea and the fourth largest producer of sesame seeds in the world, Ethiopia holds a convincing level of high potential for export growth and is a growing source of foreign exchange, the President said.
Dr. Mulatu further said the major spices cultivated in Ethiopia are ginger, hot paper, turmeric, coriander, and black pepper. Currently, there are over 200, 000 hectares of land estimated to be favourable for spices production. Even though, the spices production has reached over 250,000 tones per year, it is still far behind the potential the country. In order to thrive in better yields, increasing not only the volume but also the value is highly essential for spices sector; and this can increase the export volume as well as more foreign exchange earnings through value addition, the president added.
Ethiopia has a vast , fertile and suitable land for the cultivation of oilseeds , pulses and spices. There is a very high potential to increase Ethiopia's share of world production by increasing the productivity of the land and through expansion of cultivated land.
The government will continue supporting the private sector within the framework of the country's development strategies and polices through the provision of incentive packages. The private sector actors are operating their business along the value chain concepts; and value addition products in agro-processing investment to transform the agricultural products are highly encouraged. "We are determined not only to increase productivity but also to improve our products' quality to meet international standards," said President Mulatu.
Ministry of Trade State Minister Ayana Zewude said, "Our achievements in the pulses and oilseeds sub-sector is no less dramatic. Our exports in pluses and oil seeds have registered an average growth of 16 per cent. The export growth was achieved through increased production, better quality and diversified of markets."
The success shall increase our determination to take further initiative to resolve long standing structural problems. Improving mechanisms within the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, which has already become a benchmark for many sisterly African countries is just a case in point, Ayana said.
"In the wake of this phenomena, support is needed to help producers acquire better management and marketing practices to face quality and sustainability requirements to enhance the pursuit of diversified livelihoods."
In this respect, strengthening of producer organizations and improving access to credit shall play a prominent role. In addition, rapidly changing market conditions require timely and targeted responses. "We remain keen to receive additional inputs from all stakeholders' on issues that need our interventions and to learn from experiences of other countries," he said.
Ethiopia is blessed with a diverse agro-ecology and favourable climatic condition that permits diverse range of agricultural products. These natural features, together with the strategic and policy direction, have led a decade long double digit economic growth.
Several initiatives formulated in our Second Growth and Transformation Plan shall ensure a rapid, sustainable and equitable economic growth that would at the same time enhance decent job opportunities, poverty reduction and structural transformation, the State Minister said.Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices Processors Exporters Association (EPOSPEA) President Haile Berhe said, "Our conference is becoming a yearly international event; our international business partners are enthusiastic to put it in their annual business travel schedule and participate in Ethiopian oil seeds, pulses and spices export business activities."