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FTA from Ethiopia: How to improve production and processing of fruits?

As part of the project “Arba Minch Fruit Value Chain”, three FTA representatives (Anna Maňourová, William Nkomoki and Jan Staš) together with experts from Mendel University in Brno went to Ethiopia to kick-off a new four-year development project. Its aim is improvement of the knowledge and skills of local farmers, diversifying the local fruit production, opening new business opportunities for farmers and last but not least on the reduction of post-harvest losses. 

Although fruits are considered as stable ingredients in Ethiopian households, especially during numerous periods of fasting, the average per capita consumption of fruit in Ethiopia is still only 7 kilograms per year. The East African average is about eight times higher (55 kg) and the recommended annual dose is even 21 times higher (World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization). 

The Arba Minch Zuria area is an important fruit-growing region, characterized mainly by the production of bananas, papaya and mango, which account for up to 10% of local household income. The whole area already covers about 10-15% of the total fruit production in Ethiopia. Despite this fact its potential is much higher. Plenty of rainfall and favourable climate conditions provide an opportunity for growing different fruit and vegetable species. However, local farmers are facing large post-harvest losses (e.g. up to a quarter of mango production) and sell most of their products fresh without any processing. Diversification of cultivated species, appropriate sustainable agricultural practices and new possibilities for processing, storage and sale of processed products could significantly help in the development of the area and fulfil its fruit-growing potential. 

During the first visit to Arba Minch, the FTA team focused on the analysis of local markets, initiated training of fruit cooperatives on fruit processing (mango and papaya), analysed local fruit production and the possibility of its diversification. They visited the newly established fruit nursery and orchards and arranged the first steps for cooperation between the CZU Prague and the University of Arba Minch. Hopefully, we will be able to continue with the activities that already has begun very soon! 

And how does it all work? Take a look at the photos in the gallery below and follow the Development projects in Ethiopia Facebook page!

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