The Ethiopian Agribusiness Acceleration Platform (EAAP) conducted an event on 23 January 2020 to assess the impact of the program it has on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and smallholder farmers in the presence of donors, strategic partners and government counterparts.

In his opening remarks, ATA CEO Khalid Bomba noted the untapped honey-production potential of Ethiopia despite being ranked 10th in the global honey production list. “One of the factors behind Ethiopia not tapping its honey production potential is low production and productivity of processors in the sector, and this is the issue that the EAAP is striving to address and has already achieved remarkable results,” he said.

The Ethiopian Agribusiness Acceleration Platform (EAAP) is ATA’s first incubation and acceleration platform established to support early stage and mature Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in agriculture. Officially launched in 2017, EAAP was first piloted as an agribusiness accelerator with an end-to-end value chain approach focusing on the honey and wax value chain. The initial focus for testing the incubator and accelerator model on the honey and wax value chain was based on the sector’s agro-ecological strengths, strong existing demand sinks, high degree of investment attractiveness, strong government support, along with other parallel investments that create opportunities for significant leverage.

Speaking at the event, Country Director for the French Development Agency (AFD) Valérie Tehio emphasized the importance of market linkage when supporting SMES to help increase their revenues and maintain sustainability.  “The contribution of agriculture to economy, growth and social cohesion is stronger if SME networks can emerge and be strengthened. This is what ATA is doing via ACC and Agrihub programs, it is a fantastic endeavor and AFD is proud and honored to be part of it,” she added.

The event also saw panel discussions by a panel of experts to discuss the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the challenges faced by entrepreneurs, specifically on skills building, mentorship and access to finance.  During the discussion the Panelists also shared their experience on important traits entrepreneurs must poses to be successful as well as similarities and differences within different business sectors.

Since its inception, EAAP has incubated and accelerated a total of 21 honey and wax processing enterprises across 4 regions (Amhara, Oromia, SNNP, Tigray). The EAAP supports the enterprises to identifies and addresses company-specific and systemic challenges, and aims to build a high-quality, sustainable supply chain for partners across the value chain and create a market-driven, business-building model for entrepreneurs. To date, the platform has provided regular business and technical workshops, launched contract farming initiatives to over 6,500 farmers with an annual harvest of 242.4 MT. EAAP has also helped leverage 63M ETB through direct and indirect financial support, such as and facilitating loan and lease financing applications, to help the enterprises increase their supply and production for each harvesting season. In addition, EAAP successfully initiated the support of 2 quality testing labs in Ethiopia to receive international honey quality testing accreditation.