ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopian Airlines and United States Aid Agency announced a new partnership agreement that will enable the nation’s flagship carrier to source locally grown produce and ingredients for preparing in-flight meals for global passengers.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam and U.S. Ambassador Michael Raynor on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding.
According to the agreement, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide Ethiopian farmers and food producers technical assistance and access to financing in order to ensure they are able to meet the airlines’ standards of quality and volume to serve its customers.
These new business linkages will help farmers and local agribusinesses reach a prominent new market and increase their revenue streams – with annual sales as high as $10 million in total.
Officials say it would also provide the Airlines farm-fresh ingredients sourced directly from Ethiopia, reducing the need for foreign suppliers’ processed foods for their catering services.
Tewolde said the “new partnership consolidates our effort to continue providing high-quality inflight meals to global passengers while intensifying our effort in creating an enabling environment for local farmers across the value chain”.
“We would like to maintain our partnership with USAID on a range of spheres,” added Tewolde GebreMariam.
A US government loan facility will also expand access to financing for local companies, farmer cooperative unions, and others to expand their operations as needed to meet the Ethiopian Airlines quality and supply demands.
“The partnership we’re launching today demonstrates what’s achievable when prominent businesses like Ethiopian Airlines invest in other Ethiopian businesses and individuals, resulting in truly home-grown economic success that has the potential to be a model for other sectors,” said Ambassador Raynor.
This partnership agreement will run through December 2022 and will help pave the way for Ethiopian Airlines and local producers and farmers groups to continue these supply linkages and partnerships into the future.