Canadian Embassy in Addis Ababa hosted trade delegations focused on Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition

Mera Food Group, Gedco and the Saskatchewan Trade & Export Partnership (STEP) trade delegation met
with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research.

Ethiopia’s agriculture sector constitutes 40% of the nation’s GDP and employs roughly 80% of the population. Ethiopia has relied on traditional practices. This is now changing because of the launch of the Ethiopian government’s second five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II), which is aiming to increase crop productivity and boost food security and nutrition in the country.

In this context, an Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition-focused trade delegation from Canada visited Addis Ababa from February 23-25, 2016. The Embassy of Canada to Ethiopia and the Saskatchewan Trade & Export Partnership (STEP) organized the business mission. Mission participants looked to develop better understanding of Ethiopia’s agriculture, food security and nutrition sectors in order to identify opportunities to provide Canadian commercial expertise, and establish technology transfer mechanisms. The mission fit nicely under the banner of the international Year of Pulses.

Three Canadian firms were part of the trade delegation:

  • Saskatchewan Trade & Export Partnership (STEP): Canada’s leading export industry development organization, champions diverse sectors including agriculture, agro-processing, and fertilizer.
  • MERA Food Group:  Specializes in food processing technologies, the implementation of whole-grain protein beverages, and other food products made from soybeans and pulses.
  • Gedco: A trading agricultural company that focuses on products like pulses, spices, dried fruit, nuts, rice, and milk powder.

The delegation held discussions with the Ethiopia Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Ethiopia Agriculture Transformation Agency, the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research, the World Food Programme (WFP), the African Development Bank (AfDB), private sector companies, and non-governmental organizations engaged in relevant sectors.

During their time in Ethiopia, the delegates learned that Canadian companies have the innovation and technology that can support Ethiopia’s agricultural production and productivity process. Furthermore, they can help strengthen the management and marketing practices of smallholders and cooperatives in Ethiopia, such as in areas of post-harvest losses, soil/land degradation, the absence of proper storage facilities, and logistical challenges.

The Ethiopian Government and donor agencies appreciated the Canada’s interest in Ethiopia’s agriculture sector, since Canada has various innovative technologies that can transform agricultural, food processing and nutrition sectors. Likewise, mission participants indicated that the visit increased their awareness of the sectors and how the market can be accessed by Canadian companies.