VIENNA, 19 June 2013 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is partnering with the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) to help finance a project that will help rural communities in northern Ethiopia adopt modern agro-industrial processing technologies and generate new job opportunities.
OFID is supporting the USD 2.5 million project with a USD 600,000 grant. The grant agreement was signed in Vienna today by UNIDO Director General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, and OFID Director General, Suleiman Jasir Al-Herbish.
During the signature ceremony, Al-Herbish said that OFID was “giving the highest priority to the food-energy-water nexus as these three areas are highly inter-dependent and crucial for combating poverty, helping achieve food security and raising living standards.”
Yumkella thanked OFID for its support and said that assisting agro-businesses and their food value chains was key to enhancing food security and combating poverty.
The project will help establish a modern processing plant that will manufacture a stable supply of marketable, Beles-based products. Beles, a type of cactus, provides a highly nutritious food source that can be processed into a wide variety of food products. It also provides a stable source of income for rural communities and is used as feed for livestock, especially during the dry season.
The plant has the added benefit of being able to thrive in the northern arid and semi-arid regions of the country and mitigate land degradation, thus offering the potential for combating the on-going desertification in semi-arid parts of northern Ethiopia.
The processing plant will be equipped with modern fruit-processing technology and the staff will be trained to operate and maintain the equipment and handle the food according to good manufacturing practices.
During his visit to OFID, Yumkella took the opportunity to extend his congratulations to Al-Herbish for his recent re-election as OFID Director General for a third five-year term.