by Dawit Taye
Illegal trade and Ethiopia’s inability to offer goods in the quantity and quality the international market demands are undermining the income the country could secure from the export market despite the fact that the export market is growing annually, it was learnt.
The problems in the management of agricultural products, which account for over 80 percent of export income, are affecting the development of the sector negatively, a report released this week by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said.
The “inefficiency” in packing and transporting agricultural products and the “slow” services at the ports have made it impossible for products to reach the companies that order them in time.
Other factors that affect the export market are the lengthening of the chain of trade and complication of the process which increases the cost of exchanges and create shortage of supply.
“Illegal trade is booming” in the form of the contraband sale of sesame, livestock, spices and coffee to neighboring countries. This has persisted for a long time but has not been solved yet.
When agricultural export products are transported from Addis Ababa their quantity keeps falling along the way to Djibouti. And this has eroded purchasers’ trust.
The Ministry is preparing to deal with all of these problems and setting a target of making about 805 million USD from agricultural products for the current fiscal year.
The Ministry is planning to export over 250,000 tons of oilseeds, 451,000 tons of sesame, 42,423 head of cattle.
It was noted in the report that while most items of Ethiopia’s export products have increased in quantity this year, dairy production and cane crops have decreased. And the export of dairy products has gone down by 50 percent in the last time years.
The number of countries importing Ethiopian products is growing, Girma Biru, Minister of Trade and Industry said. Ethiopia exported agricultural products to 112 countries last year from which the country secured 1.5 billion dollars.
The biggest importer of Ethiopian products last year was Germany, which purchased 23 kinds of products worth 141 million dollars.
The second biggest purchaser is Saudi Arabia, which imported 21 kinds of products worth 117 million dollars, and the United States stands third by purchasing products worth 106 million dollars.
The Netherlands, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, China, Somalia and Sudan are listed among the ten big customers buying Ethiopian products.