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USAID awarded a grant worth USD 760,000 to eight businesses in the livestock sector on Wednesday February 19th.
The grant award was part of USAID’s Agriculture Growth Program-Livestock Market Development project.
“As in many countries, one of the critical constraints for Ethiopian businesses to grow and develop is the lack of capital and finance, especially for businesses with innovative ideas. These businesses often lack collateral and their creative business ideas are seen as risky,” Dennis Weller, USAID Mission Director said in his opening remark.
The overall purpose of the launched program is to improve productivity and competitiveness of selected livestock value chains including live animals, meat, and dairy. The director feels the program will be a huge asset to improving exports.
The Live Stock Market Development project plans to award up to USD 5 million over the next three years with each grant varying from USD 25,000 to 300,000.
“Livestock businesses in Ethiopia face bigger challenges due to the banking industry’s unfamiliarity with lending to the livestock sector,” Weller said.
He also underlined that Ethiopia has the largest livestock population in Africa and 80 percent of Ethiopian’s livelihoods depend on agriculture and livestock.
“So, the development of the livestock industry has an enormous potential for reducing extreme poverty and malnutrition. This is the goal of USAID’s Livestock Market Development project as well as the government of Ethiopia’s Agriculture Growth Program.
The type of grant given to businesses is determined based on the applicant’s need and proposed activities. Successful grant applications will continue to address innovations and technologies that solve critical constraints along the value chain from farms to various markets, a spokesperson at the event said.
Livestock exports slowed down last fiscal year. The sector registered a dip of 40 million USD.
The government has set a target to earn USD one billion from meat and livestock exports by the end of the Growth and Transformation Plan period.