PARM activities kicked-off in Ethiopia in occasion of the "Policy Forum on Integrating Agriculture and Food Risk Management and Innovative Financial Services"
PARM jointly with AFRACA, NEPAD and FAO co-organized a three day workshop on “Policy Forum on Integrating agriculture and food risk management and innovative financial services” that took place in Addis Ababa on 11-13 November 2014.
The three days workshop brought together national and international stakeholders directly involved on agricultural risk management (ARM) such as the National Central Bank, MFIs, Insurance companies, NGOs, UN, Universities, research centres and other important national players linked to the Government of Ethiopia represented by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), Distaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector (DRMFSS) and other stakeholders.
The workshop has represented the first and successful step to set-up PARM process in Ethiopia and its support to the ARM Agenda headed by the Government was positively recognized.
The Government of Ethiopia (GoE), through the Ministry of Agriculture, is one of the first countries supported by PARM that formally manifested in 2014 the intention to integrate the agriculture risk management tools in the existing national policy and investment plan. PARM Secretariat and its strategic partner, NEPAD, in September 2014 have agreed to support the organization of the forum, headed by FAO and AFRACA, to take the opportunity to introduce PARM and at the same time to identify potential synergies and partners to set-up its process. The workshop has become the launching event of the PARM process in Ethiopia.
The Forum’s objectives were well aligned with PARM’s goals: i) the establishment of the ARM National Steering Committee; ii) the identification of the main risk affecting the agriculture thorough a holistic approach; iii) the development of the road map to ensure the integration of the new identified tools into the national policy and investment plans.
The first two days of the forum mostly focused on sharing experiences and information at national and regional level of initiatives related to ARM and in this occasion the PARM process and objectives have been presented to the audience. Further presentations and panel discussions allowed the participants to better understand the difficulties for financial institutions and private players to invest in agriculture sector. Deficiency of clear and harmonized policies and regulations, land tenure issues, infrastructure inadequacy, limited storage capacities and market access, especially for small scale farmers, seems to represent the main constraints not only in Ethiopia but also in countries like Uganda, Nigeria and Zambia. An important and recurrent concern was represented by the fragmentation of many initiatives, coordination mechanisms, policies and tools to manage risks, causing an incomplete analysis and response to a given risk or crises (exactly the opposite of the holistic value proposed by PARM) . It was also commonly recognized that often these gaps affect mostly small scale farmers that do not participate on initiatives such as Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) and Warehouse Receipt Study (WRS).
The State Minister Mr. Wondirad Mandefro opened the Forum and expressed its commitment to a (P)ARM process in Ethiopia. During the three day conference, the main outcomes expected from the Forum have been developed and discussed. A formal commitment to support the establishment of a National Steering Committee on ARM was obtained.
The Ministry of Agriculture will ensure the leadership of the process, assisted by the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) and a pool of facilitators as: the Association of Ethiopian Microfinance Institutions (AEMFI), IFAD, NEPAD, FAO and PARM Secretariat.
Main objective of this pool of advisers is to set up the new National Steering Committee, collect the data available, support the identification of the gaps of the existing risk analysis and tools/policies and then fully transfer to the GoE the final policy and financial phases
PARM Secretariat in collaboration with NEPAD have planned a mission to Ethiopia during the first quarter of 2015 as agreed with the IFAD Country Program Manager and national stakeholders to better refine the role of PARM and its contribution to the on-going process.