Five year Lobby & Advocacy trajectory pays back!


Dire Union successfully lobbied the local government to be granted a poultry farm, valued EUR 1.5 million!

Dire Union provides agricultural inputs and technical support to 38 primary cooperatives and more than 8,000 farmers in Ethiopia. The union was assessed in 2018 with support from two Dutch Agripoolers from Rabobank and Flynth. The team found out that Agriterra could be of support to improve the Lobby & Advocacy (L&A) skills of Dire’s board and management to have a more effective reach to regional and national governments.

Therefore, that same year Dire Union was invited to participate in the FACT training, where Dire's representatives defined key priorities in their advocacy strategy towards public entities such as presenting them proposals to build an office, a warehouse and a vegetable seedling propagation center. As a continuation of the FACT training, in 2019, Dire Union was invited to the FACT Follow-Up training where the union shared its progress and updated its L&A strategy.

Early 2020, before COVID hit, Agriterra and Dire Union had a meeting with key decision-makers of the local government, aiming to get the proposal on the cabinet agenda. The meeting was positive and the local government proposed to analyse the union request. However, in 2021 the union was still awaiting any support from the local government as the process proved to be very bureaucratic.

Reviving a dormant poultry farm

It was around this time when Dire Union decided, after consulting its farmer members, to lobby the local administration for a poultry farm. The farm, built by the local government, had been dormant for years by lack of funding and proper management. Thus, it was running at a minimum production of 1,000 chickens per year, while Dire Union believed, in the long run, they could reach a production of 1 million chickens per year. The union aimed at enhancing the production of chicks, which are in high demand. These chicks would then be distributed to women and youth members, with the aim of increasing and diversifying their income.

This was the time when Agriterra had to change gears. So, in April 2022, Agriterra tried a different approach, by organising an experience exposure for high officials from the city administration to the cooperative Admas Wolkite. The purpose of this visit was to demonstrate the importance of cooperatives in rural development to facilitate the support of the local government to Dire Union.

Again, in January 2023, Dire Dawa city administration officials traveled on a study tour to The Netherlands, aiming to understand how to support the cooperative sector with proper policies and regulations to make the sector autonomous and self-reliant. During the exchange visit they agreed to transfer the ownership of the poultry farm, the seedling center and the market center to the union. Finally, the local cooperatives advisors supported the union to get the ownership certificate for the poultry farm from the local government.

Successful transfer and future commitments

As a result, in October 2023 the local government officially transferred the poultry farm to the union, whose assets (7,106 m2 plot, 11 buildings and equipment) are valued at EUR 1.5 million. Additionally, if the union demonstrates its prowess running the chicken farm the city government pledged to transfer ownership of the seedling center, plus a market center with 500 Ha. of adjoining farmland where the union could grow corn to feed the chickens.

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