Ethio-Netherlands Seed Committee Reinitiated

The Ethio-Netherlands Seed Committee (ENS-committee) held its first meeting on February 23, 2023, at the Radisson Blu hotel in Addis Ababa, with the goal of facilitating trade and investment in the seed sector by creating a conducive business environment for international companies.

The Netherlands and Ethiopian governments’ cooperation in fostering an environment that is favourable to trade and investment is valued by ENSP. As a result, ENSP set up a forum where the business actors, in particular the international companies and their associations, have opportunity to meet with Ethiopian government officials and discuss barriers to doing business with and in Ethiopia and offer solutions to these hurdles. Roughly the last meeting of this committee was four years ago. This year, ENSP reinitiated the meeting because of the importance of the committee.

The purpose of the Committee is to create conducive business environment for international companies to contribute to Ethiopian seed sector development. Specifically, it includes identifying hurdles to doing business in Ethiopia, suggesting ways to make it easier to do business, designing and commissioning studies and piloting, strategizing how to scale and institutionalize, and monitoring and evaluating of related projects.

The committee approved the TOR, elected Wondale Habtamu from Ethiopian Agricultural Authority as chairperson and Meeuwes Brouwer from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as co-chair for the committee. A brief highlight of the ENSP project and EKN Addis activities related to the project were also presented and briefly discussed. In this round of the meeting, the committee focused and openly discussed issues related to forex, variety testing, phytosanitary service among others.

The committee members are not only responsible to attend the quarterly meeting, but also review minutes and documents, provide suggestion as to how the challenges of doing business is solved to advance the committee’s objectives. Furthermore, members support dialogue, debate and encourage fellow members to voice their opinions, acknowledge conflicts of interest, respect agreements of confidentiality, establish subcommittees or take up assignments individually whenever needed. The first meeting was concluded by giving assignment to Ethiopian Seed Association to assess and present the forex demand for vegetable seed import. The committee will convene its meeting every quarter and ENSP will continue serving as the secretary to the committee.

The ENS-committee comprises 13 representatives from the Ethiopian Agricultural Authority, the Ministry of Agriculture – Horticulture Development Department, the Agricultural Councillor of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Ethiopian Seed Association, the Ethiopian Horticultural Producers and Exporters Association, international seed companies, HortLIFE, and ENSP.