Agriterra has been working in Ethiopia since 2012 and supports 24 cooperative unions and 36 selected primary cooperatives under these unions. Admass farmers’ cooperative union which is found in Gurage Zone at Wolkit city is one of the first union that has been supported by Agriterra since 2012.
The union established in May 2003 by 7 primary cooperatives, 1750 small holder member farmers and with the initial capital of 153, 000 Ethiopian Birr(ETB)( 1 Euro is equal to 32 ETB). Currently member cooperatives raised to 119, membership increased to 45,380 of which 12% are female members and capital reached 21.1 million ETB.
Before 2012, the union activities were manly dominated by input marketing and was not business oriented although the union has an enormous potential for the production and marketing of maize, chickpea, red kidney bean, coffee and Niger seed.
In 2012, Agriterra has come to the union and has been funding the capacity building (training) of farmers, extension workers, union board member and staffs of the union mainly works on oil seeds crops such as Niger seed and linseed areas. The Agriterra supports were mainly focused on the following key areas:
The productivity of oilseeds increased due to the training given to the farmers and all stakeholders, the union start to think about value addition, and developed business plan to setup edible oil refinery, technical support for the business plan and possible financial sources, the accounting recording of the union changed from manual to Peachtree accounting software, the management of the union have got training and exposure visits due to that awareness raised the union has become business oriented. In general, lots of improvements have been seen especially at the union level; the output marketing contribution of the union to the total turnover has been improved drastically, the union management and board capital strengthened, the farmers knowledge on good agronomic practice has been improved and above all the union business diversified and engaged in agro-processing activity.
Agriterra mainly emphasize and support highly the agr-processing initiatives to be realized. Admass is a pioneer to applied approach and a successful union for Agriterra. As Admas is in highly potential area for Niger Seed, and their ambition to engage in edible oil processing factory, Agriterra has played a pivotal role in making their dream a reality. fascinated to processing Niger seed and produce edible oil and other byproducts, since this crop is potential produced in the union working area.
The investment ideas were started before 4 years ago although the union has bright ambition and strong commitment, yet they lacked the required capital as is the reality for almost all unions in this country. But Agriterra advised and assisted the union to mobilize their own internal capital using their own members. Awareness creation workshops were organized at different levels. This idea of internal capital mobilization was initially piloted at Admass with the support of Agriterra. The result was impressive; the members purchased new share both in kind and cash and the union able to mobilize 4 million ETB additional equity capital from its member. The pilot has become success and now a day’s different cooperative unions are taking lesson from Admass and they are have brought remarkable results.
Agriterra consider Admass union as a pioneer union in terms of internal capitalization in this country. This year the union has acquired the Niger seed edible oil processing equipment’s and the machineries Agriterra has assisted this union a lot especially internal capitalisation and provided a 5 million ETB cash guarantee through social investors. This year the union has successfully established a Niger Seed Edible Oil processing factory and the establishment of the factory has been inaugurated on September 18, 2017.
The factory has 5000 litter per day production capacity. Currently, the union is producing 3000 litter per day. At present the union has create employment opportunities to the local people, supplying a pure oil to member framers and to the society, and above all created sustainable market to the members oil seed crops.
Agriterra will continue working with the union for only one more year and the focus areas will be improving the management effectiveness Niger seed factor workers and acquainting the union marketing staffs a bout proper brarding and marketing strategies.