Role of Agricultural Cooperatives and Storage in Rural Ethiopia

grains in Ethiopia

Source: Flickr/ A. Davey

In Ethiopia, grain prices fluctuate much more than prices in the international grain markets, and since the 2008 world food crisis, Ethiopia’s grain prices have become even more volatile than before. Many Ethiopians rely on maize, wheat, teff, and sorghum as staple foods, but unsteady prices can hamper consumers’ ability to buy enough grains to feed their families. The government recognizes the challenges that Ethiopian consumers face and is exploring several options to ease price fluctuations.

In the paper Role of agricultural cooperatives and storage in rural Ethiopia: Results of two surveys, researchers explore grain storage options in Ethiopia as a solution to reduce seasonal grain price volatility. Many farmers sell their grain soon after harvest because either they lack storage capacity or they need the cash for daily expenses. Most cooperatives have storage facilities, but there is little information on the capacity and condition of these facilities. The government is exploring options to increase grain storage, either at the national, cooperative, or household level. An initiative to expand grain storage, however, must start with a solid understanding of the capacity and quality of current storage facilities at each level.

The report examines grain storage capacity and behavior, making use of data from the 2008 Ethiopian Agricultural Household Marketing Survey (EAHMS) and the 2012 Cooperative Storage Survey. In the study, researchers evaluate the storage capacity of households and cooperatives in Ethiopia and investigate the reason farmers may or may not market and sell their grain through cooperatives.

This report has five main goals:

  • Outline the role of agricultural cooperatives in the lives of Ethiopian farmers,
  • Estimate the storage capacity of farmers and cooperatives,
  • Describe the main characteristics of crop storage facilities of farmers and cooperatives,
  • Review the storage behavior of farmers and cooperatives, including the crops stored, the volumes held, and the duration of storage, and
  • Explore the attitudes and perceptions of farmers about crop storage, cooperatives, and agricultural markets in general.

Read the full report here .