Supporting fruit and vegetable processors and smallholder cooperatives improve not only quality inputs but also diversify production and marketing of produce.

Ethiopia leads an agrarian economy. The agriculture sector accounts for one of the highest ratios in sub-Saharan Africa at 37% of the GDP capital and contributing to 83% of all exports. Ethiopia possesses a wide range of agro-ecological zones, arable land, and labour, which allow for a wide range of agricultural systems.

Enterprise Partners sought to enhance Ethiopia’s production and export capabilities by improving farmers’ access to the right quantity and quality of inputs (such as seeds), and by facilitating the teaching of good agricultural practices.

Theory of Change


Smallholder Farmers 

Enterprise Partners worked to support smallholder cooperatives to improve not only quality inputs but also diversify provide production and marketing of produce. Our interventions have contributed to the improvement of smallholder farmers’ incomes, opening up job opportunities for women and increasing supply of better quality and quantity of fruits and vegetables to the market.

Through interventions to boost seedling propagation with a view to increase supply and marketing of improved seedlings at competitive price, Enterprise Partners brought investment in commercial propagation, which also supports extension services for smallholder farmers. Through this initiative, smallholder farmers are able to access quality seedlings, improve their crop yield, and increase their incomes in the long-run.

EP partnered with private seedling propagators locally to implement a model that used agents as a delivery and communication tool between propagators and farmers. Agents were incentivized in cash and in-kind by the propagators to promote, assess, collect demand, carry out extension support and deliver seedlings to the farmers. In return agents were trained on good agronomic practices and data or book keeping.  

Partners have realized the viability of the agent-based approach and are now equipped to predict a farmer’s future demand in respect of variety, quantity and quality. Farmers started demanding better quality and better technical support.

Across SNNPR, Oromia, Tigray and Amhara regions the agent-based model was able to reach over 36,000 fruit and vegetable farmers.


Ethiopia is in the early stages of building a food processing industry that can fuel the country to have higher agricultural productivity and growth, including better and more steady farm prices; reduced wastage, quality assurance based off international requirements and certifications, as well as encouraging environmental recycling.

Enterprise Partners worked to promote employment opportunities at factory level fruits and vegetable processing plants. Enterprise Partners worked with tomato processors, commercial farms and farmers’ unions to build out-grower schemes (supply agreements between different parties in a supply chain). These schemes promoted good agricultural practices and assisted smallholders to gauge more effectively the needs of the market. These initiatives helped to create and sustain fair market practices for both smallholders and tomato processors.

Our interventions worked to reduce wastage from smallholder farmers’ markets, support processors meet international certification standards, produce perishable produce into more value-added consumables, increase returns to farmers, and diversify into other crops needed for processing.


Enterprise Partners worked to identify and support the creation of market profiles for high value crops with the goal of attracting investment and building the technical capacity of local partnerships.