Agriterra supported cooperative for better ergonomics


Written by Dawit Hailegiorgis, Cooperative Advisor 

Oromia Agricultural Cooperatives Federation (OACF) was established in May 2009 in Addis Ababa, Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia. Initially founded by 40 cooperative unions, with a starting capital of 18.3 million, 1698 primary cooperatives, and 1,158,358 individual members. 

Since then, OACF has grown to 67 cooperative unions, with a capital of more than 2.5 billion, 5400 primary cooperatives and over 3 million individual members. Currently, the federation has 513 permanent employees of which 438 are male, 75 are female, and 68 are temporary employees.

Core activities

OACF is mainly engaged in importing agrochemicals, agro-processing and exporting member products such as sesame, haricot beans, and mung beans. The federation imports and distributes agrochemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, animal drugs, and fertilizer to its member farmers. They own two modern factories that process maize and barley to produce flour, grits, malt and animal feed. The maize processing factory, located in Galan, processes 30,000 tons of maize annually and the barley factory in Asella has an annual processing capacity of 36,000 tons of malt barley. 

OACF envisions adding value to maize, barley, sesame, mung beans, haricot beans, and other crops while expanding its existing market share. With the support of Agriterra through lobbying and advocacy, the federation aims to properly manage imported agrochemicals in collaboration with the Oromia Cooperative Promotion Agency (CPA) and Bureau of Agriculture (BOA). Additionally, the cooperative intends to start importing soil fertilizer and distributing them to the farmers in the Oromia region.

Office challenges and solution

OACF does not have an office in a convenient place and has faced challenges such as working in a very cramped government office for over 15 years since its establishment. Last year, the office was destroyed in a fire.
The federation also struggles with disclosing addresses to foreign clients, setting up new systems like digitalisation, and customers are suffering due to unknown addresses in business transactions. OACF stated that having a proper office is crucial for generating sustainable revenue.

To address the challenges of OACF, the 15th General Assembly Meeting (AGM) was held in Bishoftu last year, followed by the first emergency meeting in Adama. There it was unanimously decided to purchase a convenient building as per the 2023/24 plan. Following the unanimous decision at the AGM, OACF prepared a Terms of Reference (TOR) for procurement, to establish a committee at different levels, conduct acquisition feasibility, check the legality of the building, negotiate with the seller, conduct asset valuation for the building, review bylaws, re-named of procured building, and facilitated topographical maps preparation. 

The management of OACF has worked tirelessly to realise the purchase of the former Express Plaza building located around Jemo Michael in Addis Ababa, acquiring it for Euro 5,3 million. The management and board have taken measures such as the revision of bylaws to accommodate the purchase, updating the existing organogram and establishing a new administrative structure for accommodating the new building. 

The new building has a basement, which is suitable for members meeting and staff work environment. Moreover, the remaining floor of the building has various shops rented out to private businesses and organisations, generating a monthly income of approximately Euro 19,355. The building is free from any debt and its premises have enough parking spaces. Moving forward, the OACF board and management have initiated the completion of internal structures, including partition to furnish office rooms and seating, anticipating the transition OACF staff into the new office by late May or June 2024.

Training and recognition

Agriterra, in collaboration with OACF, has organised and delivered Internal Capitalisation (IC) mobilisation training to 67% of the OACF members by engaging the general managers and board chairpersons. Besides, Agriterra has facilitated the improvement of the relationship between the regional Cooperative Promotion Agency and OACF by organising consultative workshops and continuous advisory services. 

As a result of its contributions to the success of OACF, Agriterra has acquired recognition and was awarded a certificate in front of its full members, higher government officials and other development partners on 18 May 2024 in Addis Ababa, at their newly inaugurated office.

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