October 19 , 2019
By TEMESGEN MULUGETA ( FORTUNE STAFF WRITER )
As part of an effort to create job opportunities, the Oromia Regional State has provided organised groups of youth with 350 tractors worth 285 million Br in a loan arrangement.
Kegna Agricultural Equipment Manufacturing & General Trading, part of the economic wing of the Oromia Regional State, assembled the tractors, while Oromia Savings & Credit Institution will finance the tractors through a credit arrangement.
Oromia Industry & Enterprises Development Council, which aims at creating 1.1 million jobs in the regional state this year, will oversee the project. It also coordinated and organised the youth and work through Oromia Savings & Credit Institution to facilitate the credit.
The tractors will be entirely handed over to 1,750 youth in the coming four months. The first 100 tractors were delivered to 500 youth two weeks ago with a ceremony that was held in Shashemane town with the presence of Shimeles Abdisa, deputy administrator of the Oromia Regional State.
Having 75 horsepower, the John Deere tractors have a unit price of 813,000 Br. Tractors were provided to groups with five members, who are expected to raise 10pc of the value in advance. The Oromia Savings & Credit Institution will cover the remaining cost, and the youth are expected to pay back the loan within five years along with eight percent interest.
Beneficiaries should be unemployed graduates of higher educational institutions who can produce kebelleand unemployment ID cards, according to Nemra Waqgari, team leader for financial support and audit team at the Oromia Enterprise & Industry Development Bureau.
The youth will be engaged in agricultural production.
The agricultural sector of the country comprises 35pc of GDP and the Central Statistical Agency targeted 314 million quintals of agricultural products to be produced this last season.
Inaugurated last year, Kegna rests on 37,000Sqm of land and is located in Shashamane, 249Km from the capital. The plant, which was inaugurated with the presence of Lemma Megersa, the former president of the Oromia Region, has a capacity of assembling 20 tractors a day.
The pioneer tractor assembler in the country, Adama Agricultural Machinery Industry, was also established in 1984 with the main aim of assembling tractors to be used on mechanised farming.
Kegna, which operates with 50 employees, handed over 60 tractors last year for unemployed youth.
"Lack of forex to import the materials to assemble the tractors is our major challenge," said Amina Waqo (PhD), consultant of the plant. "But we expect to hand over the remaining tractors in the coming four to five months."
Establishing this kind of market linkage will create a win-win situation, according to Hailemariam Kebede (PhD), a lecturer at Addis Abeba University's School of Commerce.
If the project becomes successful, it would bring change in the agriculture sector by helping the country ensure food security and create employment opportunities, according to Hailemariam.
The Bureau also should consider the durability and maintenance of the tractors, and they should give training on how to use and maintain the tractors, he recommends.
"Besides this, the youth should have a vision and be business-minded," he said.
At a national level, there are 11 million unemployed people, of which 700,000 of them are in the capital.
PUBLISHED ON Oct 19,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1016]
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Commentaries | Jan 25,2020
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