The Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) covered the cost the certification process for some farms in the Global Good Agricultural Practice (Global GAP), program, which helps agricultural producers enter into highly restricted markets.
Tewodros Zewdie, Executive Director of EHPEA, told Capital that his association is working with enterprise partners and has started a new project to help farmers to partially secure the certificate.
“We have a plan to provide a support for up to 20 farms to get the Global GAP certificate. We will share up to 43 percent of the cost,” he added.
With the goal of boosting exports of Ethiopian fruits and vegetables EHPEA in collaboration with the Global Good Agricultural Practice (Global GAP) organized a workshop on Tuesday August 1 at Hilton Hotel where representatives explained the program.
This will help ensure that agricultural products meet the criteria to enter other countries.
Global GAP is a scheme that focuses on food safety and sustainability of agricultural products, employee safety and environmental protection issues.
Currently, 13 farms in Ethiopia are certified in Global GAP, while Kenya has over 193. The Ethiopian farms certified in the Global GAP grow peas, beans, perennials, strawberries and capsicums (peepers).
Meki Batu Union which includes 48 small scale farmers secured the certificate under the group certification scheme.
“We are the center and close to the potential markets like Europe and Middle East, but fruits and vegetables are imported from very far destinations,” Tewodros explained.
He said that farms that export their products to the Europe and Middle East are very limited due to the certification issue.
Other international organizations have pointed to logistics as another concern that has to be addressed.
Tewodros said that the association has commissioned a study to improve cargo transportation via vessels.
Currently the country exports produce via airfreight, which costs a lot of money and makes it less competitive on the international market.
He said that there are not enough containers which makes the product very expensive.
“Good policy is another challenge, but we are working with the government to solve the problem,” the Executive Secretary of EHPEA said.
“We are talking with relevant government offices like the Railway Corporation,” he added.
About four months ago the people involved in the sector discussed the issue with Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn about challenges they face.
In the just ended budget year the country earned over USD 53 million from fruit and vegetable exports.
More than 180,000 producers are certified on Global GAP in over 127 countries.