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Drought victims continue to live in fear and uncertainty as the recent severe drought has killed two million livestock so far, according to a report of the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The primary reason for the death of the livestock is linked to a rise in drought-affected areas and people.

The surge in drought was disclosed by the government after the completion of a Belg assessment Humanitarian Requirement Document (HRD), which was jointly developed by the government and humanitarian organizations, involving more than 200 individuals.

The current food and nutrition crisis is significantly aggravated by the severe blow to pastoral livelihoods, reads the report of FAO.

The effects of low rainfall also continue to have a devastating impact on the food security conditions of the country as the number of people who are in need of immediate assistance has increased from 7.8 million to 8.5 million, becoming the third-worst drought in half a century.

Oromia and Somali regional states remain severely affected by the drought, accounting for over half of the drought victims in eight regions of the country, affecting 10.6pc and 31pc of their population, respectively.

Also, the number of priority Weredas has grown from 454 to 461, half of which are severely affected by the drought.

The report is released as the average price of food has reached its highest level since October 2015, hitting 12.5pc in the past month, growing by an unprecedented level against the target of the government to keep the rate at a single digit.

The document showed a significant change in the humanitarian context, requiring urgent life-saving interventions, pushing the humanitarian requirement of the country to 1.2 billion dollars from 948.6 million dollars as of January 2017, of which about 771 million dollars is covered by the government and donations from humanitarian partners.

The United States, the government of Ethiopia and the United Kingdom are the major donors to the drought with a fund of 179 million dollars, 147 million dollars and 40 million dollars, respectively.

The increase in the humanitarian need is mainly attributed to the poor performance of Belg (spring) rains this year, especially in Oromia, Somali and Southern Nations, Nationalities & Peoples’ (SNNP) regional states, where the effects of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) was very high, according to the report.

Two months ago, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), in its report, disclosed that the food stocks of the World Food Programme (WFP), the National Disaster Risk Management and Control (NDRMC) and the Joint Emergency Operation Plan (JEOP) will be depleted owing to the deteriorating food security rate in the country.

Now with the rise in the number of drought victims, NDRMC and WFP are expected to supply 84pc of the total food in the drought-affected areas whereas the remaining will be covered by support through the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) consortium.

The food shortage is also exacerbated by the attacks of the Fall Army Worm (FAW), induced in some of the regions of the country, affecting 2.7 million hectares of land in six regional states.

First seen in South America, an irrigated maize farm in Yeki Wereda, in SNNP, was the first to be attacked by the FAW.

Maize, whose price has doubled over the past two months, is highly attacked by the armyworm among all crops. Of the 1.7 million hectares of planted maize in the country, about 22pc has been heavily infested, with all maize-growing areas at risk of damage.

The chance of spreading to sorghum-growing areas in Afar, Amhara, Tigray and Somali regional states is also very high, according to the mid-year review.

“We are preparing a protocol to conduct a study on yield loss assessment at the FAW infested areas,” said Woldehawariat Assefa, director of Plant Health & Quality Control at the Ministry of Agriculture & Natural Resources (MoANR). 

Source: Addis Fortune 

 

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Lion International Bank (LIB) S.C. will begin an agent and mobile banking system within two weeks, pending approval of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE).

This will put Lion in league with Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), Wegagen International Bank S.C. and United Bank S.C. who have already begun similar services. Others, such as Cooperative Bank of Oromia (CBO), Abay Bank and Dashen Bank S.C. have begun pilot programmes, according to information obtained from NBE.

The Bank has already concluded its test programme and submitted its report to NBE two weeks ago. It is waiting for the green light to commence operations, commented Getachew Solomon, president of LIB.

According to NBE regulations for mobile and agent banking services, it is expected to assess the pilot test report and give its approval within one month.

LIB carried out the pilot programme from February to May 2015, under a separate unit established to oversee the agent and mobile banking system.

The Bank has recruited 160 agents, 60 of which are located in Addis Ababa.

Agent and mobile banking systems are renowned for the expansion of financial inclusion among a society, said Getachew. Therefore, the pilot test has tried to include all parts of Ethiopia including Hawassa, Wolayita, Adama, Shashemene, Dila, Dire Dawa and Mekele, he added.

The cost effectiveness of the system in comparison to opening a branch and the growing number of mobile subscribers are additional motives for the bank to embark on the service, explained Abreham Tilahun, manager of the Alternative Channel Banking Division of LIB.

Established on October 2, 2006, LIB currently has 90 branches across Ethiopia, with 36 of them located in the capital city, Addis Ababa.

The Bank has partnered with BelCash Ethiopia for the installation of mobile banking technology known as HelloCash tech platform. BelCash is owned by the Netherland’s BelCash International which provides technological solutions for financial services using the Internet and mobile phones, its website states.

BelCash Ethiopia will collect its payment through a revenue sharing principle from the transactions that will be made, commented CEO of BelCash Ethiopia, Vince Diop, though the percentage each partner will receive has not been disclosed.

In order to provide customers with mobile banking services and information on their account activity, a USSD code *803# and 8803 interactive voice response (IVR) have been assigned. The system will also have a 24-hour call support service once it becomes operational. These services are provided using five languages including Amharic, Tigrigna, Oromifa, Somaligna and English. Though Amharic and Tigrigna languages are used for the written information the English alphabet is used.

Furthermore, the technology can keep transactions pending for customers for up to two weeks, making it convenient for people with mobile network problems to retrieve them, revealed Abreham.

Customers can have a maximum balance of 25,000 Br in their mobile accounts and daily mobile banking transactions that involve debiting cannot exceed 6,000 Br, in accordance with NBE’s directive.

In addition to LIB, BelCash Ethiopia is working with Somali Micro Finance Institution S.C. and Cooperative Bank of Oromia (CBO) S.C. with all having a uniform money transfer and withdrawal charge, Tewodros Tassew, HelloCash operations manager at BelCash Ethiopia informed Fortune.

The service charge for transferring money ranges from 7.5 Br to 10 Br depending on the sum of money transferred, which is limited to 6,000 Br. While customers, are required to pay at least 10 Br and 26 Br maximum for using the mobile money withdrawal service. But this charge is to be discussed for revision next week at a meeting that will involve LIB, Somalia Micro Finance and CBO.

Source: Addis Biz 

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The new directive will enable the Ministry to procure fertilisers directly from the manufacturers for three years

The Ministry of Agriculture & Natural Resources (MoANR) has finalised a draft directive that will gear up the monopoly of the fertiliser import process. The new directive will also let the Ministry procure fertilisers directly from manufacturers for three years at a fixed price.

The main aim of drafting the directive is to shorten the period spent to import and distribute fertilisers and to resist the drastic price surge of the former, according to Seifu Assefa, director of Agriculture Input Marketing at the Ministry.

“When the fertilisers are procured from importers it takes over a year to reach the hands of the farmers, but when it is directly from manufacturers, the time will be cut by half,” said Seifu.

It took a year for the Ministry to draft the regulation. Three weeks ago, the Ministry put the directive up for discussion to stakeholders of fertiliser import and distribution. The Ministry of Transport, the Ethiopian Agricultural Business Corporation, the Maritime Affairs Authority, and regional state agricultural bureaus were the stakeholders consulted in the process and gave comments on the directive.

“Comment from the stakeholders was already collected, and we just finalised the draft incorporating the comments,” said Seifu.

The amount of fertiliser imported into the country is increasing year to year. A decade ago, the country imported 200,000tn of fertiliser, but this amount reached 1.2 million tonnes during the just-ended fiscal year.

In the recent procedure, the Ministry announces a tender through the Agricultural Business Corporation (ABC) inviting companies to supply the product to the Corporation. The tender is announced in different lots and rounds. The then Agricultural Inputs Supply Corporation (AISCO) has been exclusively procuring fertilisers delegated by the Ministry since 2008.

“We experience significant price fluctuation throughout a year between the time intervals of consecutive tenders,” said Seifu.

The new procurement process will also reduce the administrative cost to announce and process the tenders, according to him.

For the new fiscal year, to procure 1.5 million tonnes of fertiliser, the Ministry needs 18 billion Br; about 600 million dollars of it will be in foreign currency and five billion Birr will be in local currency.

Currently, the country imports seven types of fertilisers, mainly Urea and NPS. For the current fiscal year, the Ministry targets to collect 345 million tonnes of crop yield.

In addition to the directive, recently the Ministry finalised an amendment of two legal frameworks named the Fertilizer Policy and the Fertilizer Production & Trade Proclamation, which were issued in 1993 and 1998, respectively, and will facilitate the monopoly of procurement and distribution of fertilisers.

According to the new draft legal frameworks, the monopoly will continue through the delegation of ABC.

“But in the meantime, we might delegate another institution for the procurement of the fertilisers, or the Corporation may continue as a delegate,” said Seifu.

This is an unwise move for Franklin Simtowe (PhD), a fertiliser expert who assessed the National Fertilizer Policies, Regulations & Standards of Ethiopia.

The centralised procurement system has proved useful concerning ensuring the allocation of foreign exchange and timely fertiliser procurement, but there is a lack of competition within the fertiliser supply chain, according to Simtowe.

“Gradually, it is necessary to liberalise the fertiliser industry to raise the private sector’s participation in the procurement and distribution process,” said Simtowe.

With a probability of being the last procurement under the previous directive, the government recently announced a tender for the procurement of fertilisers. The tender is aimed to procure 1.3 million tonnes of four types of fertilisers, namely Granular Urea, NPSB, NPS, and NPSZnB.

The government plans to gradually minimise and finally wholly substitute fertiliser import while the ongoing fertiliser plants are finalised.

Currently, the Metal & Engineering Corporation (MetEC) has been contracted to construct Yayu Fertilizer Company. In addition to Yayu, five fertiliser-blending factories are under construction in Oromia, Southern Nations, Nationalities & Peoples’ (SNNP), Amhara and Tigray regional states.

Morocco’s Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP), last year’s supplier of fertiliser to the country, has signed a deal with the government of Ethiopia to build a 3.7 billion-dollar fertiliser plant in Dire Dawa. The under-construction plant is expected to be partially operational in two years and fully operational by 2023.

The draft directive is expected to be tabled to the Minister and State Minister for approval within a month’s time, according to Seifu.

Upon approval of the directive, the Corporation will approach international manufacturers to take part in the process, inviting them to submit their prices and technical specifications.

After reviewing the documents, the Corporation will award the technically eligible and lowest bidder company. And transportation of the consignments will be held throughout the year without any interruption, according to the draft directive.

“This will be very advantageous for the farmers in various regions who cultivate crops in different seasons,” said Seifu.

Although smallholder farming dominates Ethiopia’s agricultural sector, the farmers are highly dependent on rainfall that leads to low productivity. Also, the farmers are less active to use and adopt enhanced technologies such as improved seed varieties and fertilisers, resulting in low agricultural productivity while the country harvests vast areas of farms.

The tender for the procurement of the first round consignment will be opened on August 30, 2017.

Source: Addis Fortune 

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A team of entrepreneurs representing different industrial segments from Tirupur will soon be embarking on a trip to Ethiopia for exploring the possibilities of setting up production bases there and utilise the preferential tariff advantages which Ethiopia enjoys in global markets. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) – Tirupur chapter will be coordinating the journey.

Venkatesh, vice-chairman of CII (Tirupur chapter) told The Hindu that the three sectors which were keen on having production and subsequent exports from Ethiopia include textiles, farming and food processing.

“Ethiopia, as an investment destination, is said to be holding distinct advantages for the said three segments when the products manufactured there get exported. This is because of the many trade advantages the country has in advanced markets like the United States”, he said.

Analysing segment-wise, the farming and food processing sector entrepreneurs will be keen on looking at how vast expanses of fertile lands available in Ethiopia, cheap labour and also the availability of water in abundance could be turned to their advantages.

In the case of textiles, the industrialists would analyse whether the availability of cotton in abundance, the surplus workforce at lower cost and availability of land on lease up to 40 years in Ethiopia can be feasible for setting up full-fledged manufacturing units and get the export benefits for a prolonged period.

“The visit will help the interested businessmen to get a first-hand experience of the situations in Ethiopia”, said Mr. Venkatesh.

Source: The Hindu

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Trybus Group is expanding its supply chain footprint with a new factory in Ethiopia, adding to incoming investments in the textile and apparel production there.

The Texas-based menswear company, which produces brands like Q by Flynt and Steve Harvey, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ethiopian Investment Commission to set up a manufacturing center in the Kombolcha Industrial Zone. The MoU was signed by Fitsum Arega, commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission, and Lixun Wang, Trybus Group VP and director general.

Located in the Amhara regional state, Kombolcha industrial park was introduced to the public on Jul. 12. Since opening, the $90 million facility has attracted apparel companies from Italy, South Korea, and the U.S for its close proximity to Port Djibouti. The hub’s 75 hectares of land has 13 industrial sheds and is anticipated to create more than 15,000 jobs in the area.

As part of the MoU, Trybus Group will occupy a 5,500-sq. meter shed on the site and create employment for more than 1,500 Ethiopians during the first phase of operation. The company aims to hire more than 5,500 workers when its operations are in full swing.

Ethiopian authorities also plan to carry out expansion projects on up to 1,000 hectares of land in the future. Industrial Parks Development Corporation of Ethiopia chairman Dr. Arkebe Oqubay also indicated that the park’s second phase will include other zones, such as Desie town. The region is also receiving more industrial hubs as well. Bahir Dar industrial park is set to be completed in April 2018, while Arerti and Debre Berhan industrial parks are set to be finished by June next year.

Ethiopia currently derives $150 million from textile and garment production annually, according to the Ethiopian Investment Commission, a number that could increase to more than $1 billion with increased investment in the sector. The government has plans for 10 industrial parks.

Ethiopia’s Hawassa eco-industrial park has attracted 18 global apparel and textile companies, including PVH Corp. Chinese construction firms have three additional parks underway, two of which—Bole Lemi II Industrial Park and Jimma Industrial Park—have been earmarked for textiles and apparel.

Amid the construction, the country is will need to grapple with its human rights and security to concerns in order for the region to fulfill its promise, according to Verisk Maplecroft. The risk management firm has identified land disputes, anti-government protests and child labor as recent and potential future issues in the country.

Ethiopia has been operating under a 10-month long state of emergency, which was only recently lifted.

Source: Sourcing Journal

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Companies based outside of Ethiopia have acquired 7 of the 15 factory sheds in Mekelle Industrial Park, which was built over 75,000 hectares of land and dedicated for apparel and textile manufacturing.

Commenting on the matter, Goitom Gebrekidan, general manager of Mekelle Industrial Park, noted that recruited apparel and textile firms had contracted with the park to start production. Companies from Bangladesh took a major share to show interest, he explained.

Starting from September, companies that had acquired factory sheds would start installing machinery and scheduled to start production in 9 months’ time, Goitom furthered.

Tigray Regional State Small and Medium-sized Manufacturing Industries Development Agency, on its part, explained that it had started recruiting employees for the park.

According to Head of the Agency, Tilahun Tareke, 10,000 workers from across the country will be employed during the first round. Currently, there are almost 27,000 people that have actually applied for the employment opportunities.

In addition to this Tilahun explained, 95 percent of the employees will be women.

Source: Fana Broadcasting Corporation

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Werer Agricultural Research Center has announced that it is prepared to disseminate three best cotton varieties across Ethiopia.  

Arekebe Gebregzabeher, a cotton breeding researcher at Werer Agricultural Center told Walta that the center is well-underway in its process to disseminate three varieties of cotton.     

According to Arekebe, the center is undertaking the duplication of three cotton varieties in order to address farmers and investors needs across the country.        

Arkebe noted that the center has also imported, and tested a Turkish pest resistant cotton variety that can give about 30 quintals per hectare in diverse ecological areas found across the country.    

Recently, Ethiopia experts’ are working to increase the average yield of cotton per hectare from 18 quintals to 30.   

Initially called the Melka Werer Agricultural Research Station, it was established in 1964, by the Ministry of Agriculture. Its main objective was to conduct research on the cotton crop with the goal of supporting cotton farms throughout the Awash valley. Eventually, Melka was transferred to the Institute of Agricultural Research in 1966. Today, Werer Agricultural Research Center plays an important role in researching activities in oil crops, irrigated agriculture, and releasing irrigable cotton varieties for various beneficiaries. Initially called,

Ethiopia currently has the potential of over 3 million hectares of land suitable for cotton development.

Source: Walta Information

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