Oilseed conference reaps benefit


An international conference on oilseeds, pulses and spices is being credited with boosting exports and raising revenues.
The three day conference, held in March, aimed to create sustainable and credible trade among partners. Many international delegates came and apparently it has resulted in expanded market linkage between new international buyers, who visited the country for the event.
The sector experts said that the event was a good opportunity for exporters to get new buyers and brokers.
“When we see the price of sesame, it was 1,350 birr per quintal before the conference but now it has risen to 1,550 birr two weeks after the conference,” experts said. Most of potential buyers and brokers that attended the event had an opportunity to experience the quality of Ethiopian spices.  
Haile Berhe, president of Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices Processors and Exporters Association (EPOSPEA), told Capital that conference feedback has helped expand the sector’s export. “After the conference 115,000 tons or over 45 percent of oilseeds has been exported within two and half months,” Haile added. The growth has also been observed in spices.
In the first nine months of the budget year the country earned 330.8 million dollars from the export of 258,000 tons of oilseeds. In the past budget year the country earned 327 million dollars from exporting 254,000 oilseeds.
In the pulses subsector, the country earned 107 million dollars from the export of 152,000 tons of total exports, while the past budget year it was 138 million dollars from 225,000 tons of export.
The spices sub-sector’s six months export performance (July 2011-March 2012) reveals that 12,000 tons of spices were exported to international markets, generating 25.7 million dollars in foreign currency. From this sub sector the country earned 35 million dollars in the past budget year.
From the spice sub sector MoT targets total revenue to the tune of 45 million dollars at the end of this budget year, five million dollars short of the government’s target at the end of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) period.
The government has envisaged supplying over 34,000 tons of spices for the export market by 2014/15 under the five-year (GTP). It targets 50 million dollars of annual revenue at the end of the GTP period. “The oilseeds and spices sub sector performance has already met 80 and 90 percent of their targets respectively,” Kebede Chane, Minister of Trade told Capital. He said that the international market demand for pulses declined more than was expected.
In the budget year MoT had planned to earn half a billion dollars from oilseed exports, 200 million from pulses and 45 million dollars from the spices subsector. According to the plan, the total shipment of oilseeds will be 447,000 tons and 277,000 tons for pulses and 17,000 tons for spices.
In the middle of the past week EPOSPEA awarded eighteen exporters from the three particular sub-sectors that registered good performances in the past budget year. More than 60 percent of Ethiopia’s oil seeds are exported to China followed by Turkey and USA. The sector export rakes the second largest chunk of hard currency to the country, next to coffee.   
He said that the second conference will be held in November this year. “The coming conference will be the biggest in terms of foreign participants,” the president said. At the first event, held in early March this year about 44 foreign participants attended the conference. In the coming event we expect over 100 international participants because we have promoted the event and gave a good impression at the first one,” Haile added. The conference was organized by the association in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade (MoT).