Horticulture sector growing despite communication, power, bureaucratic challenges

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The Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) showcased seven of its farms to display the successes and challenges the sector faces. Tewedros Zewede, director of the association, told media members that flower and produce growers need more land, more consistent power and better telecommunications in order to grow the industry, during the tour that occurred January 2-4, 2013.
“The government is always trying to attract investors to the sector,” Tewedros said. “But when they do come they have to struggle through a quagmire of bureaucracy to obtain land and every little thing takes time and unnecessary effort,” Tewedros said while walking reporters through the flower, fruit, vegetable and herb plantations.
Telecommunication is also becoming one of the biggest challenges in the sector Tewedros added. The produce has to be sold and transported quickly. For that the producer and consumer have to meet at the farms daily. This wastes time and cripples the country’s ability to compete internationally, he said.
“We are competing with countries like Holland and The Netherlands in the international market,” he added. “We have to be more competent and solve the problems of logistics.”
The association has 96 members which makes up the majority of the producers and exporters in Ethiopia. It was established in 2002. In the 2011/12 fiscal year, the sector garnered USD 265 million. Tewedros claims that the 2012/13 revenue exceeded all previous years but he was unable to reveal the exact amount because the result is still being audited.