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Even through peas are not popular in the Ethiopian export business, they are very much in demand throughout the world. Now pea exports are beginning to take off.
Last year peas were not even included as one of the major vegetable exports. However this year has seen considerable expansion. Sugar snap and snow peas are the two major varieties being exported to Europe and South Africa. During the 2011/12 fiscal year there were seven farms growing and exporting peas.
“Last year there were only three farms,” Yelak Negash, General Manager of Akirma Agri Service Plc, an agricultural consultant said. Akirma Agri Service Plc has played a major role linking local growers to international markets, such as the expansion of the fresh peas for export to Europe.
“Our company has provided full management service and technical assistance to link growers with international buyers,” the general manager said.
“We expect that the number of farms growing and exporting fresh peas will grow to 13 by the next season,” he added.
He said that his company is also working to add more variety of vegetables for export.
Gebre Michael Habte, Country Representative of Sunripe Kenya Limited, said that his company is working closely with Akirma and it is the major Ethiopian fresh pea buyer to sell to Europe.
Last fiscal year, over 162 tons of fresh peas were exported grossing about a half million euro. Sunripe based in Kenya supplies vegetables to 27 countries and manages its own production in Kenya and Tanzania. They have been working with Ethiopian growers to get fresh peas to their market destination since 2010.
“But it will grow this season if additional farms engage in cultivation,” Yilak said.
Although the country has exported different vegetables for many years, the sector’s growth has significantly expanded in the past few years following the high attention given by the government’s GTP plan.
Over the past years, the sector has registered a high generation of foreign currency due to the international market expansion by varieties and destinations.