Six produce items pushed for export market

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The Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) in collaboration with Enterprise Partners has developed crop factsheets on six potential export fruits and vegetables.
The Association stated that the fruits and vegetables have the potential to earn a great deal of hard currency.  According to the factsheets, the crops include: mangos, pumpkins, strawberries, papaya, avocados and melons
Yemisrach Berhanu, Promotion and information Service Head at EHPEA, told Capital that the factsheets aim to promote the fruits and vegetables which are in high demand abroad. .
The factsheets disseminated on the workshop held at Capital Hotel on Friday March 23 stated: “it is expected that horticulture investors already engaged in the fruit, vegetable and herb sector will include and expand these products in their production, small scale farmers need to grow these items,” Yemisrach said.
At the workshop members of the Association, small scale growers and suppliers attended as well as relevant government officials.
During his speech AdugnabDebela (PhD), deputy Chief Executive Officer of the newly formed Ethiopian Horticulture and Agricultural Investment Authority, said that for potential investors interested in producing these commodities, the Ethiopian government has identified six horticulture development corridors. These include: Addis Ababa-Oromia, Hawassa-Arba Minch, Awash- Dire Dawa and Harrar, Bahir Dar Nile Gorge and South Gondar, as well as Mekele- Raya and Alamata.
“These areas are identified and selected based on the criteria of a favorable ecosystem that includes the availability of potential land, labor, water, logistical infrastructures, and nearness to various transport systems, including air transport, railway lines and location to a potential port of exit,” he added.
According to the deputy head of the Authority, the government has developed a special incentive scheme to attract potential investors on those identified clusters. Even though the fruit and vegetable sector has not grown as much as anticipated, it has expanded in the past few years. For instance Ethiopian strawberries now are attracting larger horticulture companies. Recently the number of strawberry producers has climbed to 13 from almost nil a decade ago.
According to EHPEA, horticulture produce is a high value item with a diversity of fruits and vegetables that the international market wants; such growth provides major opportunities for growers and retailers to diversify and increase their competitive advantages in the international market.
In its statement the Association stated that the country has both the competitive and comparative advantage to become production and export leaders of fruit and vegetables, due to its proximity to the international market.
In the past budget year the country has earned hard currency from fruits and vegetables  that has grown  16 percent.
The factsheets included details about the crops, competitors, potential markets, and other required data.