Ethiopia: A new law for horticulture producing and exporting enterprises

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Ethiopian lawmakers have approved a new law to impose a mandatory Environmental and Social Friendly regulation on the country’s horticulture producing and exporting enterprises.

Ethiopia’s Council of Ministers, led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, last week approved a Horticulture Development Regulation to curb the negative impact of the horticultural sector’s on the environment.

The regulation, drafted by Ethiopian Environment Protection Agency (EEPA) and ratified last week by the council, imposes a restriction on companies engaged in the cultivation of flowers, vegetables and fruits.

Those targeted by the new regulation are required to apply for EEPA certification obligating them to fulfill a set of social and environmental responsibilities.

The certification process, which begins next month and is expected to create a competitive market, and improve the quality of horticultural products, will categorise companies into three grades: gold, silver and bronze.

The certification also seeks to prevent the use of banned or unregistered chemicals whilst encouraging an environmentally friendly waste disposal system. And in order to be issued a bronze certificate, employers are legally bound to provide employees with appropriate medical services.

For the second category, silver, companies are required to fulfill a social and environmentally friendly auditing system, develop efficient utilization of water sources, establish best practice stock storage and pesticide use.

Companies requiring the gold category certificate are required to fulfill the requirements of the former two categories and also contribute towards community development and engage in environmental protection schemes.

The total number of horticulture producing and exporting enterprises in the Horn of Africa country reached 120 in May 2010, according to data obtained from the Horticulture Development Agency.

The sector’s 55 rose growers generated a total amount of 170 million dollars, whilst the remaining fruits and vegetables producing companines generated 314.6 million dollars during the 2009/10 fiscal year.

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