December 15, 2018
Arba Minch, Ethiopia
A group of crops known as “vegetables” consists of more than 200 plant species all over the world as sited by Haile, 2014 (Sacks and Silk, 1987). Various types of vegetable crops are grown in Ethiopia under rain-fed and/or irrigation systems (Alemayehu et al, 2010). The major economically important vegetables include hot and sweet peppers (Capsicum spp.), Ethiopian mustard/ kale (Brassica carinata), onion (Allium cepa), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), chili (C. chinense), carrot (Daucus carota), garlic (A. sativum) and cabbage (B. oleracea var. capitata). According to the Ethiopian Investment Agency (2012), green beans (Phaseolus spp.) and peas (Pisum sativum), okra (Abelmoschus spp.), asparagus (Asparagus officinalis), cauliflower (B. oleracea var. botrytis), broccoli (B. oleracea var. italica), celery (Apium graveolens L.), eggplant (S. melongena) and cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) have also recently emerged as important export vegetables. In 2013 for example, Ethiopia exported 220, 213 tons of vegetables and generated USD 438 million (Ethiopia revenue and customs authority, 2013). Ethiopia has favorable climate and edaphic conditions for the production of tropical, sub-tropical and temperate vegetables in the lowlands (<1500 meters above sea level), midlands (1500-2200) and highlands (>2200), respectively (EHDA, 2012). A serious challenge to human survival, particularly in the developing world, is the ever growing gap between human population and food supply. Growing and using wild vegetables is an opportunity that has never been adequately prospected to alleviate malnutrition and improve food insecurity. Hundreds of edibles including many vegetables of wild/semi-wild origin are known to be sporadically consumed by rural communities in Ethiopia (Getachew A. et al, 2013). Ethiopia is among the lowest income country in the world with an average per capita income of a merely USD 180. It is also much less than the average per capital income for Sub-Saharan Africa (i.e., USD 450). For decades both rural and urban poverty in Ethiopia has remained pervasive and ever deepening, despite of considerable macroeconomic stability achieved following the policy reforms of mid-1990s. A vegetable is not a new sector in Ethiopia as the production of these crops has been undertaken for decades. The sector comprises large state farms supplying fruits and vegetables to the local market and for exports. There are few private companies involved in the production of vegetables mainly for the European market. In addition, there are numerous small producers growing a small range of vegetables for the local and regional export market. Apart from tropical fruits and few selected vegetables like onions, cabbage and tomatoes, local demand for horticultural produce is minimal (Wiersinga R. and de Jager A. 2007). The World Health Organization Estimate that low fruit and Vegetable intake contributes to approximately 2.7 million deaths a year from chronic disease and causes about 31% of ischemic heart diseases and 11% of strokes worldwide. In the overall, WHO places low vegetable consumption among its twenty risk factors in global mortality, just behind the better known killers such as tobacco use and high cholesterol level. Health workers often advise people to increase vegetable consumption, but many people cannot afford to buy vegetables or the inputs required to grow them. Whereas the role of wild leafy vegetables in food security is recognized in other African countries. However, rural Africans still hold indigenous knowledge about wild vegetables Modern agricultural systems have succeeded in providing calories, but in the process, they have increased ‘hidden hunger’ (micronutrient malnutrition) by displacing edible local plants. The economy of the country predominantly depends on agriculture, which contributes about 50% to the total GDP and 90% of export items of which horticultural crops are the leading component. Vegetable crops are valuable sources of vitamins, minerals and proteins especially to a country like Ethiopia where the people experience malnutrition due to heavy dependence on cereals such as tef (Eragrostistef), maize (Zeamais), wheat and other cereals. Several studies in the past and present have established that vitamin A deficiency is a major public health problem in Ethiopia, as elsewhere in developing countries. The fact that micronutrient status in general and vitamin A status in particular is strongly linked to vegetables availability and consumption in developing countries. It is estimated that over 80% of vitamin A in developing countries is supplied by fruits and vegetables (Lubelu T. 2010).
To Share information on the opportunity/prospects of vegetable crops production in Ethiopia.

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To review prospects of vegetable crops production in Ethiopia
2. Prospects/Opportunities for Vegetable Production in Ethiopia
The Government of Ethiopia, in recognition of the role of the private sector in the economy, has revised the investment law over three times for the last twenty years to make it more transparent, attractive and competitive. Major positive changes regarding foreign investments have been introduced through investment Proclamation No.280/2002 and Regulations No.84/2003. As a result of the implementation of the above mentioned policies and strategies, agricultural and industrial production, investment and export trade are growing steadily from year to year both in terms of variety and volume (An Investment Guide to Ethiopia, 2000).

2.1 Existence of institutions supporting the development of the horticulture sector
In Ethiopia, there are a number of public organizations supporting the development of horticulture, including vegetables. Notable ones include, Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency, Ethiopian Horticulture Producers-Exporters Association, Ethiopian Fruit and Vegetable Marketing Enterprise, Ethiopian Horticulture Development Corporation, National Agricultural Research System operating in decentralized system, Ministry of Agriculture and regional bureaus of agriculture as well as a number of vegetable seed importers with their own distribution channels. The regional bureaus of agriculture also play key roles in developing and promoting irrigated vegetable production, which increases vegetable use.

2.2 Cost of Land and Utilities
According to EIA (2012), in Ethiopia, land is public property. Both urban and rural land is available for investment on leasehold basis. Lease right over land can be transferred, mortgaged or sub- leased together with on-build facilities. The period of lease may also be renewed. The rental value and the lease period of rural land are determined and fixed by land use regulations of each regional state.
2.3 Transport
Road plays a vital role in transporting people and goods in Ethiopia. Cognizant of its cardinal role, the Government has identified the road sector as top priority for public investment and remarkable progress has been made in the expansion of the road network in the country (EIA, 2012).

2.3.1 Road transport
Addis Ababa, the capital city, is an important regional and international transport hub. The road network radiates from Addis Ababa to regions linking it with important cities, towns and other economically active centers of the country. International highways also link Addis Ababa and other cities and towns with neighboring countries such as Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia, the Sudan and South Sudan.
About 71, 000 km of new roads, including all-weather roads to virtually all kebele administrations and an expressway linking Addis Ababa to Adama (a key route to facilitate export and import trade) are constructed. Constructing 2, 395 km of new railways linking Addis Ababa with Djibouti, linking selected domestic cities and within Addis Ababa (EIA, 2012).Road transport is by far the most dominant means of transport in Ethiopia providing for over 90% passenger and freight carriage. Both asphalt and gravel roads radiate from Addis Ababa to main cities, towns and centers of commercial, industrial and agricultural activities.
2.3.2 Air transport
Air transport is an important part of Ethiopia’s transport network. Ethiopian Airline, Africa’s World Class Airline, which has gained a very good reputation internationally in its 68 years of active services, provides both domestic and international air transport services. It has an outstanding safety records and is one of the few profitable African airlines. Ethiopian services include both passenger and cargo transport in its international flights and domestic routes. It also provides training and maintenance services to more than a dozen other African and Middle Eastern airlines. Domestic flight services are provided through 17 destinations across the country.
2.4 Markets
Fresh and processed vegetables have a large domestic market in Ethiopia, significantly higher than the exported volumes. The size of the Ethiopian population is currently estimated at about 100 million. This is a strong indication of the existence of large potential demand for fresh vegetable crops in the country. The other customer of Ethiopian fresh vegetables is processing plants, i.e., wineries, tomato processing plants and vegetable canning factories which require grapevine, tomato and various types of vegetables for processing. Processing of fruit juice into concentrate near the source of the fruit either for export markets or to the local manufacturers is also an area of investment available in the country (The embassy of Ethiopia in China, 2005).

Ethiopia exports fresh fruits and vegetables to the international markets. The major markets for Ethiopian fresh fruits and vegetables are the European Union, the Arab countries and the regional markets.
2.5 Labour
Horticultural farming is high labour-intensive, requiring 32 to 34 laborers per hectare per day. Since Ethiopia has abundant supply of unskilled labor at Birr 20-30 (US 1.17- 1.76) per day.

2.6 The investment policy
To encourage private investment, the Ethiopian Government has developed a package of incentives under Regulations No.84/2003 for investors engaged in new enterprises and expansions, across a range of sectors. Foreign investors can invest alone or in partnership with domestic investors: No restrictions on equity ownership in Joint Venture (JV) Investment, Required to have investment permit from Ethiopian Investment Agency (EIA), Required to allocate minimum capital, USD 200, 000 for a single investment project USD 150, 000 for joint with a domestic investor USD and 100, 000 for technical consultancy if wholly owned or USD 50, 000 jointly with a domestic investor.

2.7 Climate
Ethiopia’s agro-Climatic conditions make it suitable for the production of a broad range of vegetables. The range of altitude, temperature and soil variability of the country has created an enormous ecological diversity and a huge wealth of biological resources. In other words the wide range of ecological conditions that prevail in the country have created a favorable habitat for diversified forms of life including plants, animals and microorganisms (Kassa M., 2015).

2.8 Water supply
Ethiopia has huge run-off and ground water potential. However, it utilizes a small portion of these resources (The embassy of Ethiopia in China, 2005). Ethiopia is endowed with abundant water resources. A large number of rivers flowing on either side of the rift valley form a drainage network that covers most of the country. Most of the rivers that carry the water resources, however, end up in neighboring countries hence making them international or Trans boundary Rivers. The total surface water resources of Ethiopia, coming from the country’s twelve river basins, are estimated to be in the order of 122 billion cubic meters per year (Kassa M., 2015). The overall goal of the Water Resources Policy (WRP) is to enhance and promote all national efforts towards the efficient, equitable and optimum utilization of the available water resources for significant socio-economic development on a sustainable basis (Bekele S. et al, 2010.

Considering water as a social and economic good, the principle of cost recovery, acceptance of the basin as a unit of planning, decentralized management, equitable and reasonable water allocation, capacity building and research and development are the most important concepts incorporated in the policy (Bekele S. et al, 2010). Overview of Ethiopian investment policy, 2013 aimed to expand the water supply infrastructure to cover 99% of the population and the drilling of some 3,000 water wells per year. Ethiopia has abundant annual rainfall and other significant water sources that with careful planning, infrastructure development and resources could be developed for irrigation and other development needs (Kuo CG., 2001).

3. Conclusion
Vegetables are source of energy, body-building nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Vegetable production plays crucial role in the Ethiopia economy. Although factors such as malnutrition, illnesses and unavailability of fat in the diet, contribute towards vitamin A deficiency, inadequate intake of foods containing vitamin A appears to constitute the single most important risk factor in developing countries. Ethiopia has a comparative advantage in a number of Vegetable commodities due to its favorable climate, proximity to European and Middle Eastern markets and the regional markets, cheap labor, Government policies and strategies of Ethiopia are good for investment having its own proclamations. The drawbacks to the sector include social and cultural habits of the population like dietary preferences depend on animal products, and dislike for vegetable crops, lack of consumer awareness on food value of vegetables, economic background of the local consumers, absence of nutrition intervention programme using vegetables and their processed products and environmental limitations etc. In general, the above all described opportunities make the country to be successes in vegetable production.
Alemayehu N, Hoekstra D, Berhe K, Jaleta M (2010) Irrigated vegetable promotion and expansion: The case of Ada’a Woreda, Oromia Region, Ethiopia. IPMS, ILRI, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.Bekele S, Erkossa T, Namara RE (2010) Irrigation potential in Ethiopia constraints and opportunities for enhancing the system. pp. 16-29.

Ethiopia Investment Agency (2012) Investment opportunity profile for the production of fruits and vegetables in Ethiopia. Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia revenue and customs authority (2013).Federal democratic republic of Ethiopia (2012) Ethiopia Horticulture Development Agency (EHDA).

Getachew Addis, Asfaw Z, Singh V, Woldu Z, Baidu-forson JJ et al. (2013) Dietary values of wild and semi-wild edible plants in southern Ethiopia. Afr J Food, Agric, Nutrn Dev 13: pp. 1.

Haile G, Tesfu M (2014) Adoption of modern agricultural technologies in urban agriculture: A case study in mekelle city-vegetable growers. Thesis, Mekelle, MU.Kassa Melese Ashebre (2015) Opportunities and potential in Ethiopia for production of fruits and vegetables: A graduate senior seminar paper. Afr J Basic ; Appl Sci 7: 328-336.

Kuo CG (2001) Perspectives of ASEAN cooperation in vegetable research and development. Asian vegetable research and development center, Shanhua, Taiwan. pp. 151.Lubelu T (2010) High value agriculture in eastern and southern Africa: Increased regional trade: Opportunities and issues, Ethiopian horticulture development agency.

The embassy of Ethiopia in China (2005) Horticulture and floriculture industry: Ethiopia’s comparative advantage. Beijing 7: 1-10.

WHO (2005) Fruit and vegetables for health: Report of a joint FAO/WHO workshop, 1-3 September 2004, Kobe, Japan. Geneva: World Health Organization, pp. 46.

Wiersinga R, de Jager A (2007) Ethiopian-Netherlands horticulture partnership: Identification of opportunities and setting agenda of activities in the Ethiopian fruits and vegetables sector. pp. 1-53.


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