Improving Agricultural Productivity through Mobile Storage Units

15 Jul 2014

image (Front row, left to right) - UNDP Ethiopia Deputy Country Director for Programme, Ms. Bettina Woll, handing over a contract agreement to Omonada Woreda Cooperatives promotion agency representatives. (Photo by Thomas Ogola/ATA)

Ethiopia is looking to introduce a Storage Facilities Initiative to address post-harvest losses, increase agricultural productivity and promote commercial farming in a sustainable manner across the country.

 

Agriculture is said to be the strong backbone of the Ethiopian economy and the catalytic interventions was introduced by the government to increase storage infrastructure and management capacity. 

 

Targeted will be 25 agricultural cooperative unions and about 1000 primary cooperatives.

 

This intervention seeks to strengthen the performance of primary cooperatives and unions and enhance the resilience of households and local communities. As member-owned, member-run and member-serving businesses, cooperatives can place social justice and equity at the heart of economic progress alongside ensuring production and provision of goods and services.

 

Grain-producing smallholder farmers’ access to sufficient and reliable storage facilities is expected to be greatly improved by the Storage Facilities Initiative.

 

While the government looks into rolling out the Storage Facilities Initiative, a partnership is underway to support mobile storage units as an interim solution. This initiative is supported in Ethiopia by  the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and implemented by the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA).  

 

“Historically many smallholder farmers had inadequate storage facilities, both in quality and number, and they have been forced to unload their profitable surplus immediately after harvest when prices are lowest” said Ms Helina Tadesse, Programme Specialist at UNDP Ethiopia.  The mobile storage units will help the farmers to benefit financially as they maximize their profit by storing their surpluses long enough to obtain better prices or in quantities attractive to major buyers.”

 

Ten mobile storage units, with 250-300 metric ton capacity are being provided to primary cooperatives in Amhara and Oromia region. It is estimated that 13,000 farmers in these two regions will directly benefit this year from the initiative that will enhance the supply chain processes and improve market access for maize surplus regions.

 

One of the mobile storage units was transferred on 2 July 2014 to the primary cooperative in Omonada district in Oromia region to help the local smallholder farmers to maximize maize production and distribution opportunities during the current harvest.

 

The Mobile Storage Unit is part of a four-year $10 million project DFATD funded “Engaging the Private Sector in Support of Smallholder Farmers in Ethiopia” undertaken in partnership with UNDP and implemented by  Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency.