Assessment of fruit and vegetable export performance in Ethiopia
Yeabsira, Tamerat Delelegne
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Ethiopia has a good potential for the production and export of high-valued fruits and vegetables that can be competitive in the international market with additional advantage in locational proximity to the markets. Yet the country has been generating consistently a low export earnings from the export of goods and services. The Government has been putting enormous efforts in the past few years to enhance the gains from exporting high valued fruits and vegetables. In line with this, the main objective of the study was to assess fruit and vegetable export performance in Ethiopia with specific objectives to analyze the status of fruits and vegetables export, assessing the relationship between export marketing strategy, firm characteristics and management attitude on export performance and finally finding out the major determinants in the export performance of fruits and vegetables. The study incorporated a census survey of legally registered 3 fruits and 11 vegetables exporters in Ethiopia. In addition, data collection was conducted through questionnaires for fruits and vegetables exporters and semi structured interviews for Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency (EHDA). Data collected through interviews was analyzed qualitatively; and for questionnaire it was analyzed quantitatively using descriptive statistics with the help of statistical software. Moreover, the findings revealed that fruit and vegetable exporters are very small in number, who are commercially known and legally registered. There is also high fluctuations in sales trend in the past 4-5 years. In general, the export performance of fruit and vegetable exporters is in its infancy and there is yet much to be done to increase the gains from the sector. Ethiopian fruit and vegetable exporters are unable to offer the right quality that the export market wants due to challenges in lack of managerial and technical skill and lack of commitment by the employee’s respectively. Externally, fruit and vegetable exporters are hindered by lack of credit facilities and supply of inputs followed by lack of infrastructure. Finally the researcher recommended that, the exporters should have to hire management with a considerable experience specifically with experience in export of fruits and vegetables. EHDA should provide training for the management of the exporters in international business management and other related trainings. Policy makers should design different schemes to bring a meaningful improvement in the productivity and production to enhance the export performance especially in quality standard of fruits and vegetables.