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Eight-month exports fetch USD 1.8 bln

Three million quintals of maize, wheat readied for emergency

The Ministry of Trade and Industry reported the eight months export performance of the country, stating it has fetched USD 1.8 billion, half a billion lower than its target.  

According to the Ministry, the export sector has been declining over the years and this fiscal year, was able to achieve 79 percent of the target set at collecting USD 2.3 billion. The overall target for the year was set at USD 3.3 billion, which now seems farfetched to be achieved in the remaining months. Relatively, this year’s performance has shown a slight increase compared to last year’s performance in the same period, collecting USD 1.6 billion.

Wondimu Filate, communications director with the ministry briefed reporters on Friday and said out of the USD 1.8 billion revenue, coffee has contributed USD 467 million and flower USD 334 million. However, these two subsectors are facing grim outlooks as half of the global economy remains in total lockdown, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Oilseeds in this regard have generated USD 188 million, much lower than expected as Chinese markets have remained shut after the outbreak.

However, the slowing of COVID-19 infections in China is motivating consumers to demand for sesame supply. According to Wondimu, prices of sesame are rising, selling for USD 70 to 80 dollars per ton. Similarly, coffee prices as well are exhibiting gradual increases. And seizing this opportunity will help exports to revive, he said.

In related news, growing fears of coronavirus in Ethiopia is prompting panic buys, with purchasing trends dramatically shifted, resulting in price hikes. Currently, some 15,000 trade shops have been shut-down while 440 offenders have been apprehended for charges of price manipulations, hoarding and adulterations.

To ease the food supply constraints, the government has stocked some 1.5 million quintals of maize, Wondimu noted. On monthly basis, 648,000 quintals of wheat is supplied and as a precautionary measure 1.5 million quintals of wheat has been sourced from the stocks of National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) to be replenished once procured consignments reach the country.