Ethiopia Begins Shipping Fruit via Refrigerated Train Route

avocadoSince launching refrigerated electric train services last week, Ethiopia is ready to send the second batch of avocado produce to other countries, Ethiopian Horticulture Producers and Exporters’ Association announced.

Since last week, Ethiopia has exported to the UK some 24 tons of high quality produce collected from smallholder farmers.

Tewodros Zewdie, Executive Director of the Ethiopian Horticulture Producers and Exporters’ Association, speaking to The Ethiopian Herald, said more fresh refrigerated avocado produce will be shipped to other countries in the new Ethiopian year that begins on September 11.

“We plan to export 70 tons of avocadoes on the second round to destinations including the Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Germany and other Middle East countries,” he noted.

Ethiopia is endowed with “a great potential” for fruit production, and its agroecology is “very convenient,” Mr. Tewodros said. Hence, he stressed, it is possible to produce and harvest fruits two times in a season, which presents Ethiopia with an ample opportunity to cater to the international market.

The Association is making the necessary logistics preparation in concert with concerned bodies, the Executive Director added, to facilitate the availability of much-needed equipment such as refrigerated warehouses, containers, and vehicles. So far, the logistics have been the bottleneck in the sector, he highlighted.

The Ethiopian Logistics Transformation Office is building a new facility with the help of the Netherlands government in Modjo town, close to the capital Addis Ababa. Having a large warehouse, the facility is made to store fruits to be shipped to Europe.

Ewnetu Taye, Ethiopian Logistics Transformation Office Deputy Managing Director, calls the shipping of fresh products to Europe via a train route to Djibouti “a milestone”. The first batch of avocado produce was exported last week as a pilot.

“This shipment is a milestone in the development of a cool logistics corridor for the export of fruit, vegetables, and other perishable products by sea via the Port of Djibouti,” Mr. Ewnetu said, adding that train transport is not only cost-effective, but also environmentally friendly compared to road transportation, as well as compatible with green logistics policies of European countries.

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