The FMM in action in Tigray, Ethiopia

FAO Multipartner Programme Support Mechanism (FMM/GLO/103/MUL) ''Enabling women to benefit more equally from agrifood value chains'' is supporting the implementation of tomato processing units (tomato puree) for women farmers’ associations in the Mekele zone, in the Tigray Region (Northern Ethiopia). These processing units will enable the associations to generate higher income by adding value to their product. Processing also enables to tackle down the perishability of tomatoes thereby making beneficiaries associations less dependent to wholesalers and seasonal price fluctuations. In addition to that, tomato processing equipment can also serve to process other fruits and vegetables opening opportunities for future businesses and diversification of their women association production.

The project provided equipment, infrastructures and facilities for the implementation of tomato puree processing units in line with food safety standards and tailored to women associations’ production characteristics.

In addition extension officers (from Tigray Women’s Affairs Bureau and  Tigray Bureau of Agriculture), FAO staffs in Tigray and leaders of the 3 women associations have benefited from technical capacity building by FAO and ACTIA (French Network of Food Technology Institutes) experts on processing of tomato puree in order to cascade it down to all the women associations. This training have addressed the following topics:

  • GPM (Good Practices of Manufacturing) and GPH (Good Practices of Hygiene) in processing of tomato puree. The training was interactive and participative.
  • The sustainable use of resources especially water during the processing.
  • The management of tomato by-products (tomatoes seeds and peels).

The tomato puree processing units are operational since March 2018 and will be officially launching its production in June 2018.

To support the implementation of these processing units, FAO has worked together with local public and non-governmental organizations. Technical capacity building and coaching on different issues related to tomato puree production at small scale level have been undertaken. These assistance have been carried out but FAO staffs and/or different service providers assigned by FAO and targeted women associations and/or their extension officers.

  1. The Tigray Bureau of Agriculture is the regional public agency in charge of agricultural extension and irrigation services. It also deals with related cross cutting issues such as the reduction of post-harvest losses and nutrition. Within the FMM, it has provided training and coaching on improved agricultural practices (including seedlings, pest and disease management and post-harvest losses) in order to leverage the yields and the quality of the associations’ products.
  2. The Tigray Women’s Affairs Bureau is also involved in the project. This public organization is in charge of women empowerment issues across the region. Aside of literacy and numeracy training, they especially supported women for running their business and they are served as extension officer for gender mainstreaming in Tigray.  Within the FMM, they managed a grant fund that women associations are using to perform small works related to the establishment of the processing units and as starting capital for their business. This fund has already enabled the connection to the water supply on the processing sites. In collaboration with the Bureau of Agriculture, the Women’s Affairs Bureau also supports the associations in market linkage.
  3. Furthermore, FAO has collaborated with WISE (Women In Self-Employment), an Addis Ababa based NGO with a long standing experience of business-women empowerment. WISE has provided trainings on business skills to the associations’ members as well as on leadership and management topics to associations’ leaders and supporting governmental organizations’ experts. WISE trainings provided a holistic approach of Ethiopian women’s businesses ranging from intra-household issues to technical skills such as accountancy and marketing.

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