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Ethio-Italian Cooperation supports the booming of durum wheat in Oromia

Flaminia Battistelli - Communication Officer
Italian Development Cooperation Office in Addis Ababa
Tigrai Online Feb. 28, 2013

Ethio-Italian Cooperation supports the booming of durum wheat in Ethiopia
The Ethio-Italian Cooperation Project “Agricultural Value Chains in Oromia” aims at developing two traditional crops of Ethiopia through a rigorous market-oriented approach.

The Ethio-Italian Cooperation Project “Agricultural Value Chains in Oromia” aims at developing two traditional crops of Ethiopia through a rigorous market-oriented approach: durum wheat and wild coffee.

Durum wheat has been cultivated since thousands of years, although now it is completely substituted by bread wheat. Pasta (spaghetti and macaroni) is the fastest growing food stuff in the country and therefore the numerous national food factories are largely searching the raw material for their production. Just in line with the current GTP of Ethiopia, the project is showing that the on-going importation of hundred thousands of quintals of hard wheat from abroad can be substituted by national production, starting from Bale zone where a great potential exists in land, research and extension capacity, farmers’ organizations, and human and political will. The import substitution of the hard wheat will also lead to a reduced cost of pasta on the local market, due to a reduced cost of raw materials, to the benefit of the consumers.

Based on past successes and achievements by Ethiopian research centers and Italian development cooperation project of Arsi Bale and Italian research and development institutions, a strategy for enabling the cooperatives of farmers to provide the industries with fast growing quantities of durum wheat has been implemented. A key element has been the establishment of a supply contract which innovatively recognized a significant economic premium for the quality of produce, i.e. an increment in price for every increase in protein content over a minimum fixed standard of 10.5 percent. After the good results recorded last year, this year production is reported to be about 23,000 quintals of grain – with an increase of about four times, i.e. of 300 percent more, compared to last year’s production – of which about 3,000 quintals will be reserved for next growing meher season. This remarkable result confirms the trend towards the achievement of the project’s final goal of reaching a production of half million (500,000 qt) quintals in the next five years. The 2013 supply contract between 7 farmer cooperatives and the 2 local industries DIRE DAWA FOOD COMPLEX (VERA) and KALITI FOOD SHARE COMPANY (CHERALIYA), upon which the present harvest will be delivered, will be signed on Friday 1st March 2013 in Addis Ababa.

The development of the value chain demands a comprehensive and coherent intervention embracing all the intervening factors and stakeholders. The recent results show that the project’s direction toward a new-structured value chain, where agricultural actors’ new roles and assets are shaped, is proceeding rapidly at different levels: revenue has been generated from local industries for local producers; assets have been built by the producer farmers by eliminating the undesirable effects of middlemen traders; farmers institutions and cooperatives have been empowered; stronger linkages among the economic development actors and stakeholders at all levels, in particular direct and traceable links between producers and industries, will enable a continuous improvement of the final products.

More information about the project: The wild coffee of Harenna forest is the other commodity which is addressed by the project. A successful methodology for improving drying of harvested coffee berries has been already tested in the recent past (in collaboration with Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity - Italy), with astonishing results on quality as testified by top ranking in cup testing. The project is enlarging such approach and pursuing the recognition as specialty coffee of local production getting a prompt and highly committed adoption by forest farmers. Present results are extremely promissory:  last year price increase has been of about 66%, an unquestionable recognition of the value of implemented harvest and post-harvest methodologies. Market promotion is already on the way, through a strengthening of cooperative storing and managerial capabilities.

27 Cooperatives and 5 unions are the main beneficiaries and simultaneously actors of the economic growth and development endeavor in the woreda of Agarfa, Goro, Ginir, Gololcha, Sinana and Dello Mena. Estimated numbers of farmers directly involved in the project are about 10,000 for durum wheat and 5,000 for forest coffee.  Their efforts are continuously sustained and guided by a series of committed and specialized Ethiopian institutions like Sinana Agricultural Research Center (SARC) of Oromia Agricultural Research Institute (OARI), the Oromia Cooperative Promotion Agency (OCPA), the Oromia Trade and Marketing Development Bureau (OTMDB), the Bureau of Agriculture (BoA) and its personnel at woreda level (Development agents, crop experts). The Oromia Bureau of Finance and Economic Development (BoFED) is the main executing agency and responsible for the management of the Italian grant. The technical assistance is provided through the IstitutoAgronomico per l’Oltremare - Overseas Agronomic Insitute (IAO) coordinating and facilitating the intervention of Italian institutions and enterprises.

PRESS NOTE for Durum Wheat Contract Signature event, 1st March 2013.

For Further Information please contact:
Flaminia Battistelli - Communication Officer
Italian Development Cooperation Office in Addis Ababa
Mobile: +251(0)922824296
Email: f.battistelli@itacaddis.it

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