Ethiopian Airlines to source locally grown produce, ingredients for in-flight meals

Flight attendant serves passengers with breakfast inside an Ethiopian Airlines ET314 flight to Eritrea's capital Asmara, from the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

ETHIOPIA – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has partnered with Ethiopia’s flagship carrier, Ethiopian Airline to enable it to source locally grown produce and ingredients for preparing in-flight meals for global passengers.

Under this partnership agreement which will run through December 2022, USAID will provide Ethiopian farmers and food producers technical assistance to ensure they are able to meet the airlines’ standards of quality.

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In addition, the agency will provide support to farmer cooperative unions, youth groups, women groups and other local agriculture businesses to enable them to meet the production requirements.

A U.S. government loan facility will also be extended to local companies, farmer cooperative unions, and others to expand their operations as needed to meet the airlines supply demands.

“The new partnership consolidates our effort to continue providing high-quality in-flight meals to global passengers while intensifying our effort in creating an enabling environment for local farmers across the value chain.”

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO – Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam

These new business linkages will help farmers and local agribusinesses reach a prominent new market and increase their revenue streams – with annual sales as high as US$10 million in total.

“The partnership we’re launching today demonstrates what’s achievable when prominent businesses like Ethiopian Airlines invest in other Ethiopian businesses and individuals, resulting in truly home-grown economic success that has the potential to be a model for other sectors,” said U.S. Ambassador Michael Raynor.

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USAID support will help Ethiopian Airlines identify local suppliers for the list of catering materials the airline might potentially require.

This provides the airlines with farm-fresh ingredients sourced directly from Ethiopia, reducing the need for foreign suppliers’ processed foods for their catering services.

“The new partnership consolidates our effort to continue providing high-quality inflight meals to global passengers while intensifying our effort in creating an enabling environment for local farmers across the value chain. We would like to maintain our partnership with USAID on a range of spheres,” said Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam.

MIDROC Ethiopia installs US$32.5m irrigation systems

Meanwhile, Mohammed International Development Research and Organization Companies (MIDROC) Investment Group of Ethiopia has inked a partnership agreement with the Saudi-based Alkhorayef Industries Company to boost its agricultural productivity with center pivot irrigation technology.

The partnership will enable Alkhorayef Industries to supply irrigation technologies worth 1.2 billion Ethiopian Birr (US$32.5 million) to the company.

MIDROC will be using the irrigations systems at its 13,000 hectares farm, to produce vegetables and strawberries, which it has been exporting to Saudi Arabia.

This will enable it to increase its production while reducing costs and make it not rely on rain.

In addition to fruits and vegetables, MIDROC agriculture wing in Ethiopia is also engaged in coffee, tea, cut flower, oil seeds, cotton honey and spices farms.

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