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The 6th International Agriculture and Food Exhibition officially opened on Thursday at the Addis Ababa Exhibition Center and Market Development Enterprise.
The exhibition attracted 75 companies from the private and public sectors. Out of these, 42 of the participants are foreign companies hailing from 12 countries, while the rest are local. India’s presence at the exhibition was extensive, with a business delegation numbering 40 that represent 20 businesses.
“Agriculture is the most important economic sector in Ethiopia that deserves a great deal of attention by the private and public sector and all stakeholders at large. Its contribution to the country’s GDP and export earnings is very significant. Agriculture is also a sector that provides considerable comparative advantages for Ethiopia, owing to the large size of arable land suitable for production of foodstuff, marketable commodities and inputs for the manufacturing sectors,” said Getachew Regassa, Secretary General of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations.
The Secretary General stated that transformation from agriculture to industry needs to focus on agribusiness development and marketing. Nurturing agribusiness spurs economic growth and plays a vital role in improving nutrition and food security. Employment opportunities created by agribusiness companies, not only serve as a source of income, but also as an incubation ground for local micro and small enterprises.
In his opening remarks, Professor Tekalign Mamo, Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture with the rank of State minister, said: “The envisioned move from agriculture-led economy to industry-led economy is a golden opportunity for foreign traders and investors to benefit from this transformation the country is undertaking. However, one may not imagine such a sudden leap from agriculture to industry without first transforming the agricultural sector itself in such a way that agriculture and agricultural products will be essential inputs to the industries we aspire to emerge.” The Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (AACCSA) has extended its involvement in supporting the agriculture and agribusiness sectors by launching a project called “Agri-Business Support Facility” with financial support from the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The Agri-Business Support Facility (ABSF) is a project that will run for the next three years with allocated funds of three million Euros and aims at boosting entrepreneurial involvement in agri-business. The different activities of the ABSF are placed in five components which are; Information and Service Hub development, Technical and Entrepreneurial Capacity Support, Business 2 Business (B2B) linkages and Networking and Support for Private Sector Associations for their Projects.
One of the most effective tools that contribute to the advancement of agribusinesses is through organizing specialized trade fairs where outputs of the agriculture sector are promoted, relevant know-how and technologies are disseminated, B2B networks are created and the opportunities in the sector are communicated to potential investors, among other things. The exhibition will stay open until tomorrow, June 24.