ETHIOPIA – WoubGet Holdings, a big player in the Ethiopian horticultural product logistics segment, plans to establish a cold storage facility in Modjo town, Oromia, with an investment capital of 350 million birr (US$6.5 million).
Dawit Woubishet, director of the company, said the company has already made an official request for the region to lease land in the town as well as other necessary approvals for the project.
The new infrastructure will be set up on a 2.5-hectare site along the transport corridor between Ethiopia and Djibouti.
The project will be implemented in collaboration with the company InspiraFarms, a UK-based company known for providing cooling designs, development, financing, installation, and services for pre-cooling and cold chain technology for fresh fruit and vegetables, flowers, and animal protein supply chains in Africa and other emerging markets.
Once approved by the regional state, Mr. Woubishet estimates that the construction work on the warehouse should only last 3 months.
In Ethiopia, shipments of horticultural products brought in US$356 million in the first half of the fiscal year 2022/2023, according to official data.
For the past two years, the country has had an upswing in the production and export of fruits and vegetables, giving rise to the need for more cold-chain containers and stores.
Dawit explained that 30 percent of exportable fruits spoil every year in Ethiopia due to improper handling from the farm to the processing sites.
“I have explained it to the Minister of Agriculture during the HortiFlora Expo 2023 and expect a positive and quick response,” he noted.
Ethiopia has a 10-year National Horticulture Development and Marketing strategy that seeks to make Africa’s biggest coffee producer and also a major horticulture exporter.
At the time of the launch, Dr. Eyasu Abreha, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources explained that a strategy is a key tool for creating a favorable environment and transforming the sector into one of the drivers of the economy.
Horticulture not only has the potential to generate revenue for the country but can also contribute to national food and nutrition security, he noted.
The new strategy stresses the need to support horticultural smallholders in catching up with – and connecting to the private sector.
Dr. Eyasu stated: “The private sector involved in the sector has shown progress and they have been playing a meaningful role in job creation, technology, and knowledge transfer as well as foreign currency earning.”
One of the main tools to achieve the support is to employ extension workers specialized in horticulture, he said, adding that the new strategy is very much in line with the SNV Horti-LIFE aim of integrating smallholders in high-value horticultural production and enabling smallholders to receive higher incomes.