Ten new mobile storage units set to enhance supply chain processes

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Addis Ababa,  30 July 2014 (WIC)  - Ten new mobile storage units (MSUs) are set to significantly enhance supply chain processes and improve market access for maize producers across the Oromia and Amhara regions of Ethiopia thanks to support from the United Nations Development Programme, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

According to a press release Agricultural Transformation Agency sent to WIC,  one of the MSUs was unveiled on 2 July during an official handover in Oromia Region, Jimma Zone, Omonada Woreda attended by local farmers, farmer cooperative and marketing union leaders, Government and development partner repre-sentatives and community members.

The 500-600 metric ton capacity units will maximize maize production and distribution opportunities for smallholder farmers and are already providing producers with cost-effective, clean and reliable storage during the current maize har-vest season.

The MSUs will also result in increased profits for farmers who have typically leased storage facilities from traders at a premium price, disregarded marketable grain (in some cases up to 30 per cent of total yield), or offloaded products at below market rate due to lack of storage infrastructure. Farmers have also lost maize to pest and disease when stored in inadequate facilities.

Dr Fasil, Director of Maize and Sorghum Program, ATA, chaired official proceedings, acknowledging not only investment from donors but also from the local community.

“Construction of each MSU has encouraged co-investment from local farmers, primary co-operatives and unions. These stakeholders have taken ownership of and responsibility for these facilities through erection of fencing around the struc-tures and/or by replacing plastic floor sheeting with concrete.

“Over the 10 to 15 year lifespan of each MSU, farmers will continue to benefit from enhanced market access and growth opportunities. In the immediate term, stakeholders are benefiting from training in storage facility construction and stor-age management which is assisting individual and community development.

“It is anticipated that over time the MSUs will improve conditions for smallholder farmers belonging to more than 15,000 primary cooperatives constituting 123 marketing unions across Oromia region”, said Dr Fasil.

Ato Miftah, Head of the Omonada Woreda Agricultural Bureau and Ato Biya, Chair of the Elda Shone Primary Cooper-ative, accepted handover of the MSU from Government representatives and development partners.

“The Elda Shone Primary Cooperative is made up of 902 members (including 15 women) who have incurred signifi-cant losses because of the lack of proper storage or storage altogether for their maize. This MSU now gives us more options as to when, how, to whom, and at what price to sell our grain. In turn, there is greater opportunity to increase dividends paid by local marketing unions.

“This facility is new for our members and provides a practical solution to what has been an ongoing problem. We look forward to sharing in the collective benefits of improved infrastructure and marketing processes in the very near future“, said Ato Biya.

The proceedings concluded with a signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding, detailing the obligations of involved parties (the beneficiary cooperative union, the regional cooperative promotion agency and the ATA) to ensure sustainable utilisation of the facility.