Better logistics means better profits


Even though the horticulture sector has been contributing significantly to Ethiopia’s hard currency earnings and employing people, it has not gotten the attention it deserves. Horticulture experts are hoping for more in national logistical strategy and higher education curriculums.
Experts gathering at the research conference on ‘Agro-Logistics for Competitiveness of the Ethiopian Horticulture Industry’ organized though a partnership with Addis Ababa University and Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) held on Saturday July 6, stated that the government should add a strategy to improve the movement of perishable goods.
Shiferaw Mitiku, Assistant Professor of Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Addis Ababa University, told Capital that the Ministry of Transport ratified a national strategy for the logistics sector that does not give attention to perishable goods.
“It is not included on the curriculum of higher education institutions and this needs to change,” he said.
Because the country is landlocked logistics need to work well in order to remain competitive.
“Perishable logistics are very sensitive to time, temperature and means of handling, transporting and storage. A delay in any transaction, which requires programing and calculation will result in perishing,” Shiferaw said during his presentation at the conference.
The logistics issues at customs, airport, LC at banks, failing to carry export documents result in the plants perishing. The market demand needs to be better understood and as well as ways to avoid delays, experts said.
Tewodros Zewdie, Executive Director of EHPEA, told Capital that the event has evaluated the challenges and opportunities in agriculture logistics and the research shared with policy makers.
He said that the conference addressed the extraordinary logistics fees that are a challenge for market competitiveness. “Our knowledge on perishable logistics is very backward compared with other competitive countries and investors are not getting involved,”
“Our logistics index on the World Bank is very weak and that should be improved, while the government is working to change that,” Tewodros said. “More than floriculture the fruit and vegetable sector is huge potential for the country but it needs adequate logistics for perishable goods,” he added.
Improving the local capacity and allowing foreign firms with their experience to improve the logistics sector and the recent government decision to open 49 percent of the logistics sector to foreigners might improve things, according to Executive Director.
Horticulture creates job opportunities for 199,640, of which 76 percent are attributed to empowerment of women. Ethiopia is the fourth largest non-EU exporter of cut-flowers to the European Union and the second largest flower exporter from Africa next to Kenya.