Jan 11 , 2020

With the main aim of mitigating food inflation, the City Administration is opting to build outlets that will sell fresh agricultural and industrial products.

The shops will sell teff, onions, eggs, cheese and butter along with processed products such as edible oil, soap, detergents and flour. The shops will also sell chicken, cattle and sheep during the holidays.

The Addis Abeba Cooperatives Agency, a wing under the city’s Trade & Industry Development Bureau, built the new shops over the past year. So far it has built 82 shops that rest on 50Sqm of land each. It is currently undertaking the construction of 87 more shops and plans to add 55 additional shops.

The 82 shops have already started providing service in the ten districts of the city. Yeka District has the largest number of shops with 23. Nifas Silk Laphto and Kolfe Qeranio have 17 and 10 shops, respectively. Lideta and Kirkos districts have the lowest number with each having one. The shops have a green facade.

The shops were established at the direction of the City Administration's cabinet, according to Abdu Mekuria, marketing and infrastructure follow up team leader at the Agency, which was established in 2017 after being upgraded from a small department.

“The shops will provide basic products to the residents of the city at fair and affordable prices,'' said Abdu. "They will also supply various products by creating a super and mini market-like environment.''

The headline inflation rate reached 19.5pc last month, one of the highest rates in the past five years. The rate is mainly driven by food inflation, which stood at 22.7pc.

Commodities sold at the shops are produced by regional cooperative unions. The agricultural products are transported from Meqi, Batu, Yefat and other regional cooperative unions in the supply chain.

After the opening of these shops, prices started to stabilise, according to Sintayehu Tilahun, the Agency’s market study and chain promotion team leader.

Currently, teffis being sold for 3,200 Br a quintal at all the shops, 500 Br lower than the market, according to Sintayehu.

During the last month, 5,276ql of teff, 2,488Kg of onions, 317,699 eggs, 2,054Kg of butter and 500 oxen have been provided under these coop fresh corners across the ten districts.

Since Ethiopian millennium consumers associations were established at a national level, they have started to supply goods for the residents. Currently, there are 10 cooperative unions in Addis Abeba, one in each district. The total basic consumer unions in all districts are 146, having a total of 431,201 members with a capital of 2.5 billion Br.

In the last four years, these unions have created 5,722 permanent and 3,092 temporary jobs.

Hailemariam Kebede (PhD), a marketing expert and lecturer at Addis Abeba University's School of Commerce, fears that these shops might not meet the expected target.

"They might not be as effective as expected unless these shops are led by a professionally informed marketing strategy," Hailemariam said.

The expert explained that currently, the consumer has no say on the prices of commodities because of the free-market scheme. Yet he said a lot has to be done to maintain the benefit of users by setting fair prices.

One of the measures to be taken should be engaging the so-called market burglars, individuals who break into the market chain and drive up prices, according to him.

"If not, the process can be hijacked by these actors, and the market can’t be monitored,” said Hailemariam.

PUBLISHED ON Jan 11,2020 [ VOL 20 , NO 1028]

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