Enterprise Partners and PAN Ethiopia held a three-day discussion on Contract Farming from August 5-7 in Arbaminch, SNNPR. In their discussion with over 30 participants, EP and PAN Ethiopia provided a direction on the contract farming model and other relevant issues as well as the new contract farming between MNS and Shelle-Mella natural crop producers cooperatives. In addition to the issues related to the contract farming model, they have discussed last year’s achievements of organic cotton production. Participants included the Ethiopian Textiles Industries Development Institute, the Regional and Zonal agricultural officials and farmers’ cooperatives. Three groups were formed to discuss thematic areas the drafted contract farming model. The first group discussed on store supply, price arrangement, cooperatives development and shared their views on the new contract along with recommendations on the best possible ways for better result. Group two also discussed the relevant issues regarding the contractual agreement, including the rights and responsibility of cotton supplier and buyer. Group three mainly discussed on production and marketing issues. They raised key issues, including inputs for organic farming, market suitability and transportation. Furthermore, they suggested insurance schemes for natural disasters.
The discussion was productive, inclusive and informative, giving participants a platform to raise various questions related to contract farming and created a better understanding of the new contract farming. In response to queries raised, the organizers reiterated the importance of organic cotton production. Furthermore, they shared the benefits of contract farming including EP and PAN Ethiopia willingness in supporting organic cotton production. Concluding the discussion, MNS manufacturing signed a memorandum of understanding to pay the farmers a price in line with a specified method and time. On the other hand, the farmers agreed to sell organic cotton based on the agreement. The memorandum of understanding has different articles including buyer and seller responsibility, product quality and quantity, product cost, conflict resolution, and contract amendment. The contract also includes special agreements and third party responsibility.