A New Partnership on Urban Agriculture in Ethiopia

Norwegian Church Aid Ethiopia, Alliance Micro-finance (AMAS), Bakken & Bæck (BB), and East African Group (EAG) kicked off this week a joint project that enables small-holder farmers to engage in urban agriculture in Ethiopia.

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- The partnership brings together a range of expertise in long-term development, technology, and private sector partnership on agriculture., says Eivind Aalborg, Country Director with Norwegian Church Aid Ethiopia.

Financial Inclusion and Market Integration for Informal Producers is a four-year project that will focus on training and organizing small scale producers on urban agriculture; providing them access to financial services (loans) and facilitating market linkage.

By mentoring organized small-holder producers, offering financial services including providing credit/loan groups for individuals and groups, and an e-commerce platform for market access, the project is expected to create new livelihood opportunities.

- This unique and innovative project brings the best from civil society organizations and the commercial players in the market with an end goal to increase livelihood and provide new job opportunities, says Svein Arne Lende, CEO of Alliance Microfinance adds.

The project targets urban informal producers and producer groups, unemployed women, and youth in Addis Ababa City and surrounding towns of Bishoftu, and Menagesha in Oromia Region.

NCA Ethiopia will focus on supporting the producers to increase their productivity and organize them into producer groups. It will implement the project together with two of its local partners: the Ethiopia Orthodox Church – Development and Inter-Church Aid (EOC-DICAC) and the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus – Development and Social Services Commission (EECMY-DASSC).

Alliance Microfinance AS (AMAS), a Norway-based non-profit microfinance management organization will lead the establishment of a financial institution and operational start up; while East African Group, a leading industrial conglomerate in Ethiopia, will engage in creating access to market to the small-holders in the project.

The agricultural sector contributes to 45% of Ethiopia's GDP, and is the source of livelihood for 73% of the population.