The nation is flexing muscles to buttress aggro-processing in a bid to save as well as generate foreign currency. Yet, set target is not yet achieved to the required level but hope is there to save the cost of importing.
What are hurdles and hopes in the eyes' of experts and stake holders?
Dendena Chemeda aggro-processing Industry Support Director within Ministry of Industry(MoI) was approached by The Ethiopian Herald. He says changes are taking shape at some level but the sector is at embryonic stage. Hence there is a call for to do better than one's best.
Currently, biscuit factories are mushrooming in the nation, the trend could cut down the importation volume.
Also, previously, lot of bottles of wine used to be imported but now plants like Zeway Factory are slashing down the importing rate highly, as to him.
He exemplifies, from the aggro-processing sector, in the past eight months— from July to February – alone 106 USD was collected from more than 70 exporters.
There are lots of imported foods like pasta, macaroni, fruits,vegetables and beverages among others that inundated the market, the director said. The shortage and supply gap in agricultural products like wheat, beer barely, among others, is challenging the sector.
Dendena adds that there is a meat-processing factory in the nation, it has a capacity to process about 6000 goat and sheep and about 3000 cattle per a day. As to him, this is a sure way of getting high foreign exchange. But still the supply limits the effectiveness.
Strategies, are being developed within MoI to render the agriculture sector productive and supportive for the industry thereby make aggro-processing industries process enough products to better serve the public.
According to him, regarding coffee, oil seeds, livestock, sugar , fruits and vegetable, among others MoI has developed strategies which portray the current situation and that prognosis developmental potentials down the road.
Sensitization works are underway to lure investors come on board by allowing them opportunities and incentives.
As to the director, there are hopes to cover the local market and then export the aggro - processed products working hard.
Dr Teke Alemu, Economics Lecturer at AU told to The Ethiopian Herald that, if the country exports wheat and then imports pasta the nation will lose a lot of foreign currency. The problem does not only get itself reflected in terms of badly-needed hard currency citizens also lose job opportunities.
Here it worth noting the tax such employees get finds its way into the government's coffer.
It is not only from the aggro-processing sector the country will be more profitable from all processed materials in the nation.
As to Dr Teke the nation stands a chance to be more competent for the future with the other countries given its resource and human power. Therefore, in a strengthened manner the nation should press ahead with churning out skilled human power on the sector and creating strong organizations.
“For one kilo of processed coffee imported, buyers will pay two or three times as much compared to raw coffee inside the nation,” he says. It may be difficult to compete with the developed countries but it is better to export semifinal or processed goods, he added.
Moreover, sensitization is needed to inform buyers the hallmark or quality of the product. But quality and cost matters to win local markets, as to Dr Teke.
Even the person coming from foreign countries are observably proud to wear Ethiopian shoes. That means quality with affordable cost matters.
Some original products of Ethiopia Like Red paper are protected by themselves . But most commodities are imported and they dominate local products as to Dr Teke and he stresses that the nation should step up efforts to protect local products.
They indicated that, if the whole movement continue in a strengthened manner by private and government bodies, the country will reap fruits of success in the sector soon.
BY GENET FEKADE