Three Dutch companies where registered in Ethiopia in 2003. Ten years later we count 89. Especially growers of flowers are represented. ‘The opportunities for horticulture are tremendous’, says Geert Westenbrink. ‘Not only for flower production, but also for fruit and vegetables.’
Until one and a half years ago, Westenbrink was the Dutch Agricultural Councillor in Ethiopia. During the visit of the Minister of Agriculture to the Netherlands, he gladly joined the journey of the Ethiopian delegation, to catch up with some old friends.
Westenbrink mentions the favourable climate in the highlands. ‘And the government understands more and more that they should listen to the demands of new investors.’
These are also known by Agriculture Minister Tefera Derbew. He mentions the various tax advantages. Such as duty-free imports of goods and favourable loans from the government. Companies that start up with horticulture, can produce for export immediately.
For dairy farming, the business climate is almost equally contributing, but this sector needs some development in domestic production.
‘This sector is still at the very beginning,’ Westenbrink tells. ‘If you start with dairy, you should do this because you think its important that the sector and the country develop.’
Getting rich quickly, like with horticulture, is not possible. Westenbrink knows two Dutch dairy farmers in Ethiopia. ‘They are very successful, but they both are socially driven.’
Khalid Bomba, CEO at the Ethiopian ‘agraricultural transformation Agency ‘ATA, mentions the possibility to do business with Ethiopian cooperative business.
‘You need an Ethiopian business partner when you want to do business here. If this partner is a cooperative, you do not help a businessman, but dozens, hundreds, perhaps thousands of small farmers.’
95 percent of farmers in Ethiopia is small-scale producer. ‘So if you want volume, you can not pass them’, he says.
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