Ethiopia aimed at fostering a rapid industrialization path through encouraging manufacturing and agro-processing industries, thereby to accelerate economic transformation and attract domestic and foreign direct investments. The government has given top priority for the development of industrial parks.
The industrial parks scope includes large, medium and light scale parks on the one hand and Integrated Agro-processing Industrial Parks on the other hand. Owing to the fact that Ethiopia is one of the few African countries with an industrial policy, several industrial parks have been created all over the country.
And the government is now going one step further with the development of integrated agro-industrial parks. Thus, the country is striving to achieve its plan to construct 17 Integrated Agro Industrial Parks (IAIPs) that will be built in all states by 2025.
The government of Ethiopia is also making efforts to incorporate the PCP into the broader system of national development programs as part and parcel of the nation’s journey towards a lower middle income status by 2025.
In line with this, the government has recently inaugurated Yirgalem Integrated Agro-Industrial Park, located in Sidama Regional State. The parks will help the country speed up its economic transformation from farming to industrial-led one.
During the inaugural ceremony held last Saturday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahimed (Ph.D.) said that the integrated Agro-industry Park in Sidama National Regional State is of paramount importance to transform the lives of farmers and to create job opportunities for the unemployed citizens.
Currently, active factories are engaged in avocado oil, honey and coffee capsule processing. However, “The industry park’s potential value chain includes fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry, coffee, cereal and pulses, using produce from local farmers as input,” Prime Minister Abiy said.
The premier also tweeted on his page that the industry park, planted on 294.5 hectares has a potential value chain including fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry, coffee, cereal and pulses, using products from local farmers as input.
While inaugurating the park together with former Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn and other government officials, Prime Minister Abiy also said that the government of Ethiopia has been exerting efforts to expand agricultural development and the agro-industry sector in a bid to enhance the national economy of the country.
During the occasion, Abiy said that the Yirgalem Integrated Agricultural Industrial Park located in Sidama region is part of the ongoing efforts and is a clear indication of Ethiopia’s future journey to prosperity, adding that the park was built at a cost of 2.2 billion Birr..
Abiy further stressed the need for expanding the agro¬-industry sector in the country in order to become self-sufficient in food by efficiently utilizing the labor and knowledge of the farmer. As to him integrated agro-processing industrial parks are said to be indicators of Ethiopia’s continued development direction.
According to documents from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the first phase of the park, which is being constructed by the Sidama National Regional State Industrial Parks Development Corporation, has started partial production. The inauguration of the park will signal Ethiopia’s future, the document explained.
Among the constructed, 11 production areas in the park four of them are already operational and eight more manufacturing industries are preparing to start production after the installation and planting of machines, creating market linkages and other requirements.
The park is currently home to a number of avocado oil, honey, and coffee processing industries. The industrial park will also process fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, poultry, coffee and cereals.
President of Sidama National Regional State, Desta Ledamo, on his part said there is a large workforce in the State despite the limited land availability. He further called up on the residents to benefit from the park through supplying the required agricultural inputs for the fabric from their farm areas.
President Desta also stressed the need to maintain peace and security in the region in order to attract investors and traders.
According to Minister of Ministry of Trade and Industry Melaku Alebel, the country’s economic growth in the sector has increased from 4.5 in 2010 to 6.5 in 2018, which is a poor performance. He said the construction and inauguration of the Yirgalem Integrated Agro-Processing Industrial Park is one of the indications for the government’s commitments to improve the sector.
Moreover, he asserted that the agro-processing sector has a significant role to play in accelerating the country’s transformation from agriculture-led to industrial-led development coupled with increasing in foreign exchange.
“Industries so far commenced operation in the park have been exporting agro-industry processed products for export market citing ‘Sevando Manufacturing’ which has been exporting avocado edible oil to the international market and created market linkages with some 78, 000 local farmers and 1,000 jobs.
Dolly Food Company has also been engaged in milk products for export trade by using milk from the local farmers, according to the minister.
The Regional State’s Industrial Parks Corporation General Manager Birru Wolde said upon completion, the park will have a capacity of 152 shades, adding that it will create direct and indirect job opportunities for more than 500 thousand citizens.
As to him the park has a significant role to play in the country’s transition from agriculture to industry mentioning that all the infrastructural activities have been completed. While mentioning 11 sheds have been completed in the first round, he recalled that coffee, milk, honey and avocado oil have been exported 17 times in the last one year alone.
The park uses more than 90 percent of its inputs from domestic production. Therefore, farmers can benefit themselves hard through active participation in providing the necessary raw materials. Expansion of agro-industrial parks will play a significant role in boosting farmers’ living standards and the country’s economy, he noted.
The manager further said that the road is open to investors who would like to invest in the park as the security situation in the state is peaceful and stable.
According to documents from United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the organization has been supporting Ethiopia in the development of the IAIPs program since its inception, in close coordination with other development partners including, the FAO, AfDB, EU, AICS and BMZ, within the framework of the Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) Ethiopia.
The inauguration of the Yirgalem IAIP comes after the Bure IAIP in Amhara that was inaugurated in February 2021. The Bulbula IAIP in Oromia and Baeker IAIP in Tigray will be inaugurated in the coming months. The IAIP initiative is expected to help drive the structural transformation of the economy and support the country in reaching its Vision 2025 goal of becoming a light-manufacturing hub in Africa.