Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Establishing farmers’ agricultural banks at the country or regional level in Eastern Africa

16 July 2014. Nairobi. Fin4Ag Conference. Session S49: The East African farmers’ challenge: establishing farmers’ agricultural banks at the country or regional level in Eastern Africa: prospects and practical steps ahead.

EAFF commissioned a study in 2013 to explore agricultural financing models across the region: Investigating agricultural financing models and approaches for farmers and farmer organizations in Eastern Africa. The study generated various ideas on possible viable models to be scaled out. Despite these initiatives, a comprehensive solution to the challenge of access to affordable credit still eludes the smallholder agricultural sector. Another study was commissioned by EAFF on the Foreign Direct investment in agriculture in 5 countries of the sub-region.

During a session at the Fin4Ag Conference concrete proposals for an agricultural bank and policy for agricultural financing were discussed.

Highlight: the Oromia Co-operative Union by Tadesse Meskela General Manager.

A similar presentation was made during session 3 of the 2nd African Continental Briefing (13 July 2014): The banking service to its 190 member cooperatives by Dessalegn Jena, Deputy Manager Accounts & Finance, Oromia Coffee Farmers' Co-operative Union (OCFCU) and EAFF 2nd Vice President.

In 1999, Oromia Coffee Farmers' Co-operative Union was established with 35 member co-operatives, the first of its kind in Ethiopia, and Tadesse was appointed as General Manager. Membership has recently risen to 74 co-operatives, representing 68,691 smallholder farmers with a total of 343,455 family members.
"Oromia is the best example of how farmers can do business". 
Philip Kiriro, President of EAFF

Black Gold tells the complex story behind an attempt to make globalization work for the producers of the second most valuable traded commodity for developing countries in the world.

Nowhere is the disparity of the coffee industry more evident than in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. Tadesse Meskela manages the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, representing more than 74,000 coffee farmers. The union buys coffee from 101 individual cooperatives, spread across southern Ethiopia. Black Gold follows Meskela on his mission to save struggling coffee farmers from bankruptcy.

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