Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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BusinessDFID funded project in limbo

DFID funded project in limbo

A 60 million birr investment project assisted by the British development agency is in a state of limbo as the Department for International Development (DFID) is yet to decide on the fate of the project.

The adjustment from DFID came as the agency said to change its strategy over the project three months ago.

It was an unexpected change of heart from DFID, sources close to the project told The Reporter.

The project to establish tomato processing plant was launched in February 2016 between a local investor, Mulualem Mesene Farm Enterprise and Enterprise Partners, was one of the flagship projects under DFID.

Located in Wolaita Sodo town, Southern Regional State, the project was said to be completed in February 2017.

“All of the sudden they have changed their minds,” sources said.

The plan was for Mulualem Farm to organize 5,703 smallholder farmers who reside around the farm as outgrowers. These smallholders were expected to be beneficiaries as they will be the suppliers to the plant.

DFID in its turn will facilitate supply chain, market linkage and will finance different studies, which will be conducted in relation to this specific project. The agency was said to work on capacity building and provide support in pre and post production stages.

Ultimately, not less than 5,703 smallholder farmers will have access to a reliable market and earn an additional income of 1,300 birr per head during the first year alone, securing at least five percent increment per year thereafter, a press statement issued by Enterprise Partners upon the launch of the project read.

The project was anticipated to create jobs for 440 people, 73 of them women.

DFID is now considering scaling down the project which is now almost delayed for more than one year.

Except for a few construction works the project is far behind the expected level following the termination of its support.

This is not the first time that DFID changed its plan on projects in Ethiopia. It can be recalled that DFID suspend its support to Yegna, an Ethiopian program designed to promote girls’ rights.

DFID has stopped its funding to Yegna following a scrutiny in the British parliament over doubts about the program’s effectiveness and necessity.

Launched in 2012, the Yegna project comprises a radio show, television programming, featuring an eponymous all-female band.

“We are still waiting an official response from DFID about the tomato plant,” according to sources.

The Reporter’s effort to get a response from DFID and Enterprise Partners failed despite repeated efforts.

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