For the 2SCALE program, facilitating inclusive growth along agricultural value chains is at the core of our work! Public and private partnerships are a vehicle for inclusive agribusiness development. As partnerships evolve along different stages of the value chain, challenges and strengths are part of the process. However, we cannot ignore the central role played by our agribusiness champions who take the lead role in steering inclusive growth and coordinating the value chain.
In today’s blog, we feature one of the key Business Champions whose success is evident due to improved service delivery for Teff smallholder producers in the Kesem Union-2SCALE partnership in Central Ethiopia.
First, a Background of Kesem Union
Kesem Union is a farmer organization that aims to facilitate input and output markets for smallholder farmers. To achieve this, the Union is continually building the productive and competitive capacity of smallholder farmers. It operates in Minjar Shenkora and Berehet districts of North Shewa, Amhara regional state- two districts known for first-grade teff production in Ethiopia. The Union has a huge ambition of transforming the teff value chain. Though it has been in existence since 2005, its aggregation performance in 2019 was less than 5% of the operational areas’ marketable surplus.
However, thanks to the strong and thoughtful leadership of Amakele Zewdu, Kesem Union has improved its aggregation capacity by 100% in less than two years!
The passion to transform Teff production in Ethiopia-Amakele’s big dream!
Amakele was born and raised in Ababora, a small village in the operational area of Kesem Union. He was keen to see teff farming, and its business modernized and transformed. Throughout his childhood, he farmed teff on his parents’ farm. Despite enjoying working on teff fields, he was always puzzled at why teff farming was not a rewarding and mechanized venture despite its high demand in Ethiopia. This is where his big dream to transform Teff production was born.
This passion led Amakele to join Kesem union as a General Manager in 2019. In this leadership position, Amakele is ambitious in how he turns around the business performance and meets the expectation of cooperatives’ members and smallholder farmers. Fortunately, in 2019 Amakele’s big debut as the unions General Manager coincided with 2SCALE’s move to support the Teff value chain in Ethiopia.
Using 2SCALE inclusive business development as a springboard
Kesem Union continues to strengthen the capacity of smallholder farmers to produce quality teff. This is through introducing innovations that increase the productivity of teff, build the human capacity of cooperatives to skillfully increase aggregation of teff, enhance capital base through internal capitalization and reach sustainable markets through win-win agribusiness linkages. Above all, these activities require dedicated leaders who play a major role in capacity building, networking, and facilitation among the actors involved. Kesem Union through its motivated leader-Amakele- in partnership with 2SCALE has made tremendous strides in steering such activities.
To improve on service provision, Amakele has recruited two young and keen coaches who facilitate the local networking and cascade the capacity building of actors at local level. These local actors are organized into informal organizations called Agri-Business Clusters (ABCs) namely Ameti and Eranbuti. They constitute smallholder farmers, three primary cooperatives, and local government bodies. Amakele and his team empower the ABC coaches to extend service to the ABC actors.