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Oromia Agricultural Market, which was constructed at a cost of 70 million Br, opened for business in Ashewa Meda last week to offer traders and consumers a place to trade grain and fresh produce at lower prices by cutting out the involvement of middle men.

 

Fair Trade, Producer to Buyer

New market cuts middle men from agricultural products supply chain

Top, from left: Daba Alemu (back), a trader, watches as Gashew Asfaw, his assistant, arranges sacks of different grain at the market where they have been trading for three months; Yeneneshe Dube (far right) arranging fruit as she used to in Piazza’s Attikilt Terra where she was a trader until a month before; Some of the blocks on the compound. Bottom: labourers breaking for lunch amid loading sacks of wheat onto a truck.

Around six kilometres west of Kolfe High School on the new Addis Abeba–Ambo Road, one comes to Ashewa Meda, the location of the new 70 million Br grain market.

The Oromia Agricultural Market was inaugurated on Friday, May 13, 2011, with the aim of serving as a linking system between producers and consumers as well as unions and traders.

It attempts to shorten the long chain of transactions that hampers access to the grain market with the unnecessary intervention of brokers bent on making easy money. Some have taken up the practice of mixing poor quality grains with those of a higher quality and labelling it as the latter to fetch higher prices.

The new managers of the market appear committed to eradicating these mischievous acts and protecting the rights of consumers by thoroughly inspecting the market.

The main objective of the new market is to offer the framers or direct grain collectors and buyers all possible opportunities to trade grain of the best quality at a fair price, according to Tekle Derressa, general manager of the Oromia Agricultural Market.

“We know the challenges we will face from grain dealers will be tough as they compete amongst each other for control of the market,” Tekle said. “We are determined to face all the challenges and achieve our goal, whether our adversaries like it or not.”

A few days before the official opening, around 300 traders already occupied their respective stalls. The market lies on a total of 25ht and each of the 13 blocks consists of a 1,200sqm paved floor area surrounded on three sides by seven-metre high walls. Each block is partitioned into an average of 20 stalls.

 

 

Out of the total, 10 blocks are earmarked for grain sales while honey, butter, and vegetables are sold from the remaining three. There are also two blocks with public toilets connected to running water, as seen at no other market place in the capital.

The market also makes fresh and clean fruits and vegetables available at three blocks where they are sold at a much lower price than they can usually be found for. In this manner, the new market can serve to link producers and buyers like in many developing countries.

Near the gate is a massive scale where each loaded truck and its trailer is weighed before entering the compound.

Individual producers or farmers’ associations that bring their grain by truck can rent parking lots on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. It is also possible to sell the grain straight from the back of the truck.

The large parking area can even accommodate livestock or poultry in the not too-distant future, according to Weizero Senait Tesfaye and Mekdes Adamu, grain traders from Addis Abeba. They expect Ashewa Meda to become the epicentre of trading in agricultural products in Oromia Regional State as the aim of each farming development or cattle breeder is to sell their products.

In the past, customers used to favour Burayou Market for obtaining meat at lower prices. Ironically, a kilogramme of meat is sold at 60 Br, a higher price than the 52 Br set by the government nowadays.

“As the market has just started functioning, it is too early to judge its worth,” Daba Alemu, a middle-aged grain trader from Wollenkomi, told Fortune.

One can only hope that the new Oromia Agricultural Market provides better options.

BY Girma Feyissa

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

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