24 February 2017, Arbaminch – HE Roman Tesfaye; First Lady of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia launched a partnership project of her office, the Bureau of Agriculture and Natural Resources of SNNPR and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) that will jointly work on Moringa value chain development towards improving the nutrition status and economic empowerment of rural communities in Ethiopia with specific reference to women. The “Project for the Development of Moringa Value Chain (MVC) in Rural Communities in Ethiopia” is initiated by the Office of the First Lady of Ethiopia and has been funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation. The overall programme will be implemented over a period of five years. The pilot programme is launched in Gamo-Gofa Zone, Arbaminch Zuria woreda, with a total of 23.6 million Birr (984,230.00 Euro) allocated for the first year of the implementation. The Moringa Value Chain project is implemented by the SNNPR Bureau of Agriculture and Natural Resources and UNIDO Agro-Industries Technology Division. The project implementation structures include a Steering Committee composed of different stakeholders as well as a technical advisory group consisting of high level researchers and scientist active in the sector.
Moringa Stenopetala, one of the indigenous plants of Southern Ethiopia, is a staple food for more than 5 million people in the region and is used as animal feed and water purification agent.
Moringa is also gaining increased popularity worldwide for its medicinal use as well as a food supplement due to its rich content of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Early stage research indicates that Ethiopia is among the countries with high Moringa production and export potential.
Through training of local communities in the appropriate cultivation, preparation and processing method of the indigenous Moringa plant and introduction of processing technologies the project aims at improving the nutrition status and the income of rural communities. During the pilot phase the project will serve more than 3,000 Moringa growers in the vicinity of the project site as well as direct beneficiaries that will be trained on the post-harvest handling, as well as quality and safety parameters of Moringa processing. Most of the project beneficiaries are mothers and young women.
The Gamo-Gofa Zone administration allocated 30ha of land in Arbaminch Zuria Woreda, Wezeka Kebele for the interventions planned during the Pilot phase. The site will accommodate a demonstration area for Moringa cultivation, a processing plant as well as training facilities. At the national level the Moringa Value Chain project will support the Ethiopian Pubic Heath Institute (EPHI) in ensuring the nutrition level, quality and safety parameters of Moringa cultivation and processing as well as in the establishment of a regulatory framework for the consumption and commercialisation of Moringa products. The project will also include introduction of an international certification process that will give Ethiopian Moringa products access to wide international market.
The project launching that took place in Arbaminch was also attended by, HE Ato Tilahun Kebede Vice President of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ Regional State and head of the Bureau of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ms.Ginevra Letizia Director of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, Ms. Aurelia Calabrò, Chief of the Agro-Industries Technology Division and UNIDO Project Manager, Dr. Lemlem Sisay Fetene, UNIDO Chief Technical Adviser, senior officials of SNNPR, Arbaminch University, the Southern Agricultural Research Institute, Zone and Woreda administration officials as well as community representatives.
Source – agenziacooperazione.gov.it