1 March, 2018
In November 2017, the Green Flower Foundation team visited Ethiopia to explore the country’s horticulture landscape and seek partnership opportunities. A key stakeholder group for the Foundation’s projects are private sector horticulture producers who are potential employers for apprentices and graduates of the Foundation’s educational programs. While there are many horticulture and floriculture producers in Ethiopia, few of them have focus on organic practices. GreenPath Food is certainly a pioneer in this field.
The team met with Eric Couper, co-founder and Operations Director of GreenPath Food. Before starting the company in 2015, Eric worked with Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), advising the Ministry of Agriculture on a number of initiatives. GreenPath benefits from a diverse team with vast experience of organic farming and on-the-job training. He explains that GreenPath is a specialty food company for premium organic food products and is Ethiopia’s first and only organic certified fruit and vegetable company, under the EU Organic Standard.
GreenPath works with more than 70 smallholder partner farmers, specifically in the Butajira area. They teach farmers how to improve their yields, use permaculture practices and harness export opportunities to meet the growing demand for healthy sustainably produced food. Eric explains that, in fact, demand for organic produce abroad is significant and their customer base in Europe and the MENA region is growing.
While customers increasingly demand organic food, organic farming is not always easy. Beyond water scarcity and access to seeds, organic producers need to devote significant amounts of time and resources to meet certification requirements, attend to inspections and keep transparent records.
Nonetheless, the opportunities for scaling up are there for GreenPath and they are interested in contributing to the education and training of staff and farmers in the field and accommodating apprentices of Green Flower Foundation’s organic horticulture programmes.
For more information about GreenPath, visit their website: http://www.greenpathfood.com/