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Local problems, local solutions: Agriprenuer eyes to bridge gap in edible oils

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Dagne Daba Agricultural Products Exporter, who massively engage in agricultural development, announce that they are embarking on the development of sunflower seeds that will be supplied to farmers in the harvest season from the beginning of the upcoming year.
The agriprenuer and owner of the farm, who currently supplies fruits and vegetables for local and regional markets, stated that the business venture has expanded to Gurage Zone, SNNP besides its farm in Bilate of the same region of Wolayta zone.
Dagne whilst explaining why he was undertaking this new venture explained that it was his goal to cultivate sunflower with the aim of substituting the import edible oil from the ingredients, within the coming two years.
Currently, edible pressers are imported crude for their production, while the volume of finished sunflower and other edible oil product is mostly imported from different sources since the local production has significant gap to fill the demand.
Experts over the years have pointed out for government to step in with regards to allocation of ample resources for local agricultural development to substitute the input and finished edible oil import.
According to Dagne, who boasts a track record of accomplishments on fruit production like banana, avocado and papaya, the country must move forward to feed itself by sourcing locally produced inputs.
“We are targeting to provide high quality sunflower seeds for farmers who can be potential suppliers for oil pressers,” he said, adding, “like the wheat campaign we can attain a success on the oil sector and save the foreign currency that is allocated to import the basic commodity.”
Currently at its adjacent farms at Bilate and Abaya areas, the farm is cultivating 150 hectares of sunflower that will be expanded to 2,000 hectare in the coming rainy season with the supply chain being prepared to deliver the seeds to the farmers.
At the moment, the products produced from DagneDaba Farm are supplied to Somaliland and Djibouti markets besides different destination in the Ethiopian market.
“We have papaya, banana, sweet potato, avocado, orange that we are supplying for market. Currently Etfruit, which is responsible for the supply of agricultural products at reasonable rates, is distributing our banana at market friendly costs which are lesser than the market. Similarly our banana has the major market share in the market,” he said.
“We are supplying the product with lesser price points but the government should equally play its part in structuring the market stability,” he said, adding, “if we shall have a market place at cites we shall provide basic commodities at cheaper prices that can mitigate the inflation.”
He also claimed that the farm is not supported by financial firms, “we are not getting any bank loan for our investment and we hope for government to also solve this since we are producing seeds for farmers.”
He underlined that if sufficient finances were made available, more potential investors would be lured easily to invest on the agriculture sector.
Recently, DagneDaba Farm took 2,000 hectares of land in Gibe Basin, Enemore Woreda, Gurage Zone, while it has also already proposed an expansion of 8,000 hectare at the same location.
The farm owner said that there is enormous water resource from three rivers at the area, “We are now going to construct a water system to leverage the resource to practice our agricultural activity.”
To realize the development, the farm has undertaken site clearing and constructed a 12 km access road that will provide service for the farm and community in the area.
“At the current stage it is difficult to estimate the cost at the new farm in Gurage but when the total 10,000 hectare is developed it needs over three billion birr,” Dagne added.
Regarding export business the company has so far been shipping its fruits and vegetable for regional market, while the company claims that its product is fit for the standard to European and other strict markets.
The challenge to expand the export as cited stems from lack of refer container and refer trucks to which the government promised to solve the issue.
“The National Bank of Ethiopia has promised to facilitate foreign currency to buy 50 refer containers and 50 refer trucks, but the government by itself should facilitate the logistics materials to expand the export,” the farm owner added.
In the past season, DagneDaba Farm supplied seeds that have been distributed to farmers, “For the upcoming faming activity, our maize seeds that were produced in the past rainy season may cover 30 percent of the total maize farming in the country.”

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