A delegation of 20 Finnish decision-makers and opinion leaders visited Amhara region during January 21-22, 2020 in a tour organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland. The purpose of the visit was to familiarise members of parliament, public and private sector representatives and journalists with Finland’s development policy and development cooperation. The delegation was led by Under-Secretary of State for Development Cooperation, Ms. Elina Kalkku, from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
During the field trip to Amhara region, the delegation was introduced to three Finnish-Ethiopian bilateral development cooperation projects: support to agriculture value chains (AgroBIG), to land administration (REILA) and to water and sanitation (COWASH).
The programme included visits to the field to learn about the results of the projects and meet and talk with stakeholders and beneficiaries which allowed gaining important insight into the realities on the ground.
At Robit Kebele in Bahir Dar Zuria district, the delegation was briefed on AgroBIG’s work. They met W/ro Addisie Argaw and Ato Worku Tamir, a couple who has benefitted from the AgroBIG Women and Youth Loan Fund by getting two loans from the Edget Lerobit Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) first to start and then, to expand their poultry business. They now have a total of 400 chickens that produce 350 eggs daily. The eggs are sold to retail customers in Bahir Dar.
The members of the delegation had the chance to meet the manager of the Edget Lerobit SACCO, Ms Degistu Biyazin, and visit the SACCO office. A total of 48 loans have been given out from the AgroBIG Women and Youth Fund through the Edget Lerobit SACCO, 36 of them to women.
The delegation was also exposed to various forms of capacity building supported by AgroBIG, including Farmer field schools, and witnessed demonstrations provided to local farmers on mechanised maize threshing and the use of Berken Maresha plough. The promoted techniques are affordable even to smallholders and can substantially ease the work load of farming households.
After visiting the Amhara region, the delegation members continued their meetings in Addis Ababa where they met with representatives of the Ethiopian government, the African Union and the European Union. They were briefed about the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Peace and Security operations of the African Union and the AU-EU partnership, the upcoming 2020 elections and other current issues.