Agriculture Technology Trade Fair Draws Huge Crowd in Amhara
Feed the Future Ethiopia Value Chain Activity organized a two-day agriculture technology trade fair in Amhara Region, Finote Selam town on January 27 and 28, 2018.
The trade fair was the first of its kind in the region. More than 4,000 farmers from the surrounding woredas participated, meeting with the 80-plus exhibitors that came from all over the country to demonstrate their technologies and promote their products. Exhibitors included manufacturers, importers and exporters, banks, insurance companies, microfinance institutions, agrodealers, processors, educational and research institutions, and Ethio-telecom.
High government officials from Amhara Regional State, the mayor of Finote Selam, representatives from USAID, government bureaus, partners, and stakeholders attended the fair’s opening ceremony.
Ato Tibebu Asmare, mayor of Finote Selam, delivered the opening address, in which he highlighted the importance of technology and knowledge transfer for agricultural transformation in Ethiopia.
“We are honoured to be selected by the Feed the Future Ethiopia Value Chain Activity to host a trade fair, which is critical and one of its kind for our region,” he said.
Ato Goshu Endalamaw, West Gojjam zone administrator, said he was impressed by the turnout. “Our farmers are eager to learn and to buy. This trade fair is a lesson for all of us as an effective platform for technology transfer.”
The trade fair presented an opportunity for farmers to learn about new technologies as well as to buy products that are often unavailable in their areas. Farmers purchased storage bags tools, seeds, and ICT technologies such as SIM cards and mobile accessories. Eight exhibitors signed business deals as a result of introductions made during the trade fair, and several others exchanged contact information for future sales and collaboration.
A major takeaway from the event was that farmers are ready and willing to purchase improved inputs and technologies. As maize farmer Bitew Bekalu said, “I am always interested to learn about technologies that can improve my yield. If I see something that appeals to me, I came prepared to buy.”
Other attendees echoed his sentiment, also adding had they known more details about the exhibitors in advance, sales would have likely been even higher.
“My friend and I heard about the event during a community meeting, so we just got on the bus that was coming to the trade fair. If we had more information about what would be available, we would have come prepared to buy more; but we were able to buy a box of pesticide,” said farmer Enatnesh Bekele.
A live cooking demonstration was another popular attraction, and onlookers walked away with several healthy new recipes that made use of readily-available ingredients. A traditional music band rounded out a colorful weekend for the vistors.
The fair received a good amount of coverage on Amhara television and radio stations, as well as in write ups in national papers such as The Herald and The Reporter.
Building on the success of this event, Feed the Future Ethiopian Value Chain Activity plans to organize and promote similar events in the other targeted regions and woredas.