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Official welcomes USAID role in developing agribusiness

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Addis Ababa February 17/2016 The role of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in promoting Agribusiness Market Development in Ethiopia has received appreciation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

State minister Wondyirad Mandefro promised that the lessons learned and the results achieved so far in Agribusiness Market Development would further be maintained in the second phase of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTPII) period.

At a ceremony organized to celebrate achievements in USAID’s Market Agribusiness Development here in Addis Ababa, the state minister also cited significant contributions of USAID in strengthening partnership, building capacity and developing infrastructures in line with the focus areas of the government.

Achievements would be maintained and used as benchmarks for future investment and rural development in agriculture sector, Wondrad remarked.

After nearly five years of implementation, the activity of USAID has reached out to one million farmers and created nearly six thousand full time jobs in the agribusiness sector. The activity’s interventions also facilitated USD 27.5 million in investment into Ethiopia’s agribusiness sector.

Referring to Ethiopia’s unrivaled potential in sesame export and as producer of large quantity of honey, Dennis Weller, USAID Mission Director said Ethiopia has the potential to become regional and world leader in many food products.

Weller added: “the next five years will prove Ethiopia can meet its own food needs while impressing the world with high quality products.”

Currently, Ethiopian’s farmers have learnt how to best market their product on international market, Weller indicated.

“Since 2011, the U.S. government has invested more than 50 million dollars through the Agribusiness Market Development activities in six strategic agriculture sectors to improve food security and build throughout the food value chain in Ethiopia,” he added.

Weller said the accomplishment of the Agribusiness Market Development would also be the beginning of other endeavors which will prove that Ethiopia could meet its own food needs and become owner of impressive world class quality goods.

It was indicated that the Agribusiness Market Development activities also undertook a multi-year effort to increase financial management skills of farmers’ cooperatives and small business owners.

USAID’s investment includes cost-sharing agreements to support the establishment of warehouses, the procurement of industrial processing machinery, and the introduction of new technologies for grading, quality control and post-harvest handling.