With the aim of improving honey quality, the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) is set to help establishment and upgrading of quality testing laboratories.
ATA has agreed with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) to support selected public and private enterprises establish honey testing laboratories. The deal is signed by CEO of ATA, Khalid Bomba and State Minister for MoTI Eshete Asfaw.
Reports show that Ethiopia is the leading producer of honey and wax in Africa, with figures from 2015 indicating 45,000 metric tons of honey and 5,000 metric tons of wax were produced. It is known for its organic honey. On a global scale, Ethiopia is the third largest producer of beeswax and the tenth largest honey producer, though estimates suggest that the country could be producing 100% more honey and beeswax per annum with the right investments in commercialization, according to ATA.
Meanwhile currently only 2-3% of Ethiopia’s honey and 10% of its beeswax make their way to international markets. Both the export and domestic markets for these products are untapped and show remarkable potential.
The agreement will provide a partnership framework for ATA and MoTI to provide financial and technical support to selected private and public enterprises to establish and upgrade internationally accredited quality testing laboratories for honey.
The CEO of ATA Khalid Bomba, after the signing of the MoU, said that the ATA and MoTI have been collaborating and working together on a number of projects. This particular partnership will help to establish internationally recognized honey quality testing labs in the country. This in turn will positively impact markets as well as production and productivity of honey processors in the country through creating convenience to the export market.
“The support for quality testing laboratories will also have a direct effect on smallholder farmers engaged in beekeeping, as an increase in the volume of export will in turn increase their income and overall livelihoods.”
State Minister for MoTI Eshete Asfaw on his part said that capacitating the quality testing labs through helping them to acquire the right technology and getting their services accredited will play an important role in order to build a sustainable value chain in export of honey from Ethiopia. “The labs will be capable of providing accredited and globally recognized tests in an accurate, timely and cost-competitive manner for national honey exporters.”
Previously honey exporters in Ethiopia have been sending samples of their processed honey to Germany and other countries for quality testing and assurance. During this process, they face challenges related to foreign currency and the inconvenience of sending samples overseas.
The Ethiopian Agribusiness Acceleration Platform (EAAP), through its ecosystem track, has launched a program to capacitate quality testing labs based in Addis Ababa. The main objective of this program is to support internationally recognized labs in order to achieve international accreditation in honey quality testing by 2020.
Public and Private enterprises that have quality testing labs have been selected through a set of criteria to be provided with the necessary technical and financial support to upgrade their quality testing labs to international standards.