Ethiopia: Agricultural sector gets positive forecast

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Recent trade statistics in Ethiopia have shown that traders transacted about 6.7 billion birr worth of commodities under the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) trading system in the past budget year. The main trading product was
coffee (220,000 tons) followed by sesame, maize and wheat.

It is the second successful budget year since the ECX, a modern electronic grain trading facility, first introduced its trading system early 2008 with about 2.7 billion birr worth of commodities traded on the ECX floor in the first year. And according to Dr. Eleni Zaud Gebre Medhin, CEO of ECX, this year’s result is an increment of 148 percent.

“Our capacity is moving up. In the next budget year we will undertake the exclusive trading of sesame and white pea beans, like a coffee,” Eleni said at a press conference held last week at the annual ECX forum. The trading of the two products is expected to be launched this month. The CEO forecasts the sale of about 250,000 tons of sesame and white pea beans next year. “In addition 40,000 tons of maize is expected to be traded,” she added.

Since the past two years the exchange commodity has mainly focused on the trading of coffee, which is the backbone of Ethiopia’s economy, bringing in one fourth of the country’s foreign currency. In the past budget year about 221,000 tons of coffee and other products have been traded under the ECX. The previous year had seen Ethiopia registering only 138,000 tons.

The agricultural sector, in the coming months, will experience a major peak season for crop production, as farmers get ready to harvest sesame, one of the largest export items after coffee. Ethiopia is the world’s fourth largest sesame producer after China, India and Myanmar.

ECX is a domestic market system linking local suppliers with exporters and other buyers. The trading bell first rang on the trading floor of the ECX in April, 2008. When it began, the exchange traded wheat, maize and haricot beans, taking on coffee trading on December 2, 2008.

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