The Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) says it will establish 17 more agro-industrial parks across the country by 2025. The aim is to increase capacity utilisation and export earnings from the agricultural sector.
Currently, Ethiopia has 14 agro-industrial parks that were established through government investments of up to US$2.5 billion, mainly in the Tigray, Amhara, and Oromia regions.
EIC Senior Industrial Parks Expert Ayele Beyene told the Ethiopian Herald that the planned industrial parks would tap into the existence of critical inputs and resources including livestock, forests, farmland, suitable climatic conditions and the available labour force.
The EIC is aiming to establish industries that will process fruits, dairy, meat, poultry, leather, textiles, honey and coffee products. These industries are expected to stimulate agro-based rural economies by turning smallholder farmers into suppliers of produce to a value chain that holds high potential for export.
Input suppliers would be established around the parks and associations will be set up, with mandates to purchase raw materials from local farmers and supply the agro-factory chains.
The agro-industrial parks are a government concept that seeks to localise value addition to all agricultural exports. Despite its huge potential, the contribution of agriculture to Ethiopia’s export earnings has remained negligible due to low-quality inputs that hardly make export-grade products.