Ethiopian Airlines to Serve More Locally Produced Food In-Flight
Ethiopian Airlines and the Government of the United States through its development agency, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), forged a partnership to engage local farmers and food producers in supplying locally produced food in flight in Africa’s most successful and profitable airline.
The partnership was announced yesterday by the soon to be departing American Ambassador to Ethiopia, Michael Raynor and CEO of the airline, Tewolde Gebre-mariam.
“We deeply value our relationship with USAID and extend our appreciation to USAID for all the support. The new partnership consolidates our effort to continue providing high-quality in-flight meals to global passengers while intensifying our effort in creating an enabling environment for local farmers across the value chain. We would like to maintain our partnership with USAID on a range of spheres,” announced Tewolde.
One of Ethiopia’s biggest partners on development, USAID is known for its numerous projects throughout the country.
“The partnership we’re launching today demonstrates what’s achievable when prominent businesses like Ethiopian Airlines invest in other Ethiopian businesses and individuals, resulting in truly home-grown economic success that has the potential to be a model for other sectors,” said Ambassador Raynor who is expected to vacate his position before the end of this year ahead of a new term of American Presidency in January.
The new agreement will offer Ethiopian farmers and local food producers technical assistance and financing as a capacity building scheme. It also gives the airline an opportunity to identify local suppliers and support farmer cooperative unions through a loan facility that will help the airline meet its needs.
The partnership is to last until 2022 for the airline that imports much of its in-flight food products from abroad, including supplies of chicken from Dubai using scarce foreign currency.
Ethiopian Airlines has won plaudits for its adaptive moves that earned it sizeable profit amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that crippled the whole industry and left many seeking state support. The Airliner is also in talks to acquire or forge a partnership of some sort to help save the financial troubled South African Airlines.