High food prices and high inflation have worsened conditions for the country's poor, especially rural areas. Half of the population is undernourished, and two million need food assistance. Weaving and textile production is hampered by lack of access to information, appropriate technologies, and input supplies. Agriculture employs 80% of the population, but farmers have limited awareness of post-harvest handling techniques such as storage, and no access to credit to grow their business.
MEDA will enable rice farmers and textile producers to access better markets, new production techniques and technologies and support services such as finance. With improved irrigation, processing and storage techniques, rice growers will increase productivity and become more competitive with expensive imports. Spinners, weavers and embroiderers will strengthen links to emerging markets, become more aware of market trends, introduce low-cost upgrades and implement production efficiencies.
Borrowing from the Amharic word for progress, EDGET (Ethiopians Driving Growth, Entrepreneurship and Trade) will help 10,000 small producers increase their income by improving production and moving into higher value markets. With an average of five people per household, EDGET will bring positive change and new hope to 50,000 lives. Local project partners will build their value chain development and financial services capacity, ensuring services to producers continue after the project's end.