PRIME Reduces Food Loss through Supporting Businesses

Food loss represents a major global concern. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, one-third of food intended for human consumption is lost globally. In sub Saharan African countries, significant portion of food produced is lost after harvest, as of 2011, making postharvest handling a major issue for the agricultural sector. Yet, most countries often overlook the issue largely, focusing their agricultural efforts on increasing yields or improving access to markets. Ethiopia is no exception. The focus on reducing post-harvest crop losses is rather minimal.

In Babile woreda, like in other parts of Ethiopia, farmers use traditional threshing methods of separating grain from the chaff by beating the grain repeatedly using thick sticks. Estimates indicate that the use of such traditional practices contribute to around six percent of grain loss, undermining efforts to ensure household food security tremendously. The practice is also time consuming, laborious and costly. For example, using the hired labor; farmers estimated that 12 to 14 hours are required to thresh a ton of sorghum – which costs them around 1,328 ETB or more than USD 66 or around 133ETB/ nearly USD 7 per 100k. There is no sign that government extension programs have any plans to tackle postharvest loss; nor is any strategy in place to create access to improved time and labor saving crop threshing technologies.

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Under its objectives of creating and diversifying livelihoods, USAID-PRIME partnering with a private crop threshing machine supplier and interested farmer cooperatives, has facilitated piloting of a small scale motorized sorghum thresher in two kebeles of Babile woreda. The project has supported farmer cooperatives through a cost share to facilitate payment-based crop threshing service provision for the surrounding farmers. The piloted machine has a threshing capacity of 500 to 800 Kgs per hour and costs around 40,000 ETB (USD 2000). PRIME shared the cost of the machine while the cooperatives and machine supplier covered the cost of farm machine testing and training of cooperative members.

The cooperatives have now started providing services. More than a hundred farmers have been able to get the services at a much lower cost of 20 to 25 ETB/100kgs or at about USD 1, a huge reduction in cost. The businesses are also earning reasonable revenues of about ETB 6,000.00 (USD 300.00) in just a month’s time. Apart from the monetary benefits of the farmers and businesses, the introduction of the technology has also significantly saved labor and time for the beneficiary farmers. In short, the following benefits have been derived from the intervention:

  • Threshing cost for 100 kg has been reduced from 132.8 to 20 to 25 ETB
  • Threshing time has been reduced from 12 to 14 hours to nearly 2 hours per ton
  • The time and strenuous effort that women invest in preparing threshing field (sealing the field with cow dung) is circumvented, saving women tremendous precious time and effort.
  • Farmers and development agents estimated that the technology has reduced grain loss by about 66 percent (from 6 to 2 percent).
  • Created two job opportunities for two field technicians.

As increasing household income opportunities is one of the objectives PRIME works to achieve through the facilitation of small business startups that benefit households and create jobs, the project continues to scale up this particular activity so as to stimulate growth, expand businesses and create a better market system that works for the marginalized community. Please click the link to download the success story, PRIME Reduces Food Loss through Supporting Businesses


Monthly Livestock Price Report Bulletin March 2015

he livestock market bulletin report for the month of March, 2015, a publication of selected information obtained from the NLMIS. This publication contains limited amount of information and further detail on pricing, number of traded animals (small ruminants, cattle, camel) categorized in various breeds and body condition in different markets throughout Ethiopia on weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis can be found on

Please Click the link below to download the Report Bulletin March 2015, Monthly Livestock Price Report Bulletin_March_2015

Monthly Livestock Price Report Bulletin February2015

he livestock market bulletin report for the month of February, 2015, a publication of selected information obtained from the NLMIS. This publication contains limited amount of information and further detail on pricing, number of traded animals (small ruminants, cattle, camel) categorized in various breeds and body condition in different markets throughout Ethiopia on weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis can be found on

Please Click the link below to download the Report Bulletin February 2015, Monthly Livestock Price Report Bulletin_Februay_2015

PRIME Launches an Innovative Intervention to Promote Nutrition

More than 83 percent of Ethiopia’s population lives in rural areas, many as pastoralists and herders, who depend exclusively on the land and their livestock for food and livelihoods. For these populations, securing food and getting enough of the right foods is a daily struggle. Ingrained cultural behaviors like inadequate livestock care, poor maternal health and insufficient infant nutrition make it difficult for pastoralist communities to maintain consistent earnings and healthy families.

Pastoralists’ fragile health and livelihoods inhibit their ability to cope with the harsh conditions — drought, irregular rain, poverty and diminishing natural resources — they’re up against. While these challenges are complex and recurring, changing the lifestyle behaviors that make families more vulnerable will help them stand stronger — and recover faster — in the future.

Like the rest of her pastoralist community members, Dima Halke’s livelihood is milk, and her survival depends on her cows. As the only provider for her eight children, 49-year-old Dima sells milk to buy food, medicine and supplies for her family.[read more=”Continue Reading..” less=”Less”]

When droughts parch the pastures, Dima’s cattle can’t produce the quantity and quality of milk her family relies on. As she struggles to keep her livestock healthy, she must choose to spend precious funds on animal feed instead of food and medicine for her family. If she doesn’t, she risks losing the only livelihood she knows. Awareness and knowledge of keeping animals strong and family members healthy go a long way in ensuring food security and resilience for Dima and other pastoralist community members.

USAID-funded project Pastoralist Areas Resilience Improving through Market Expansion (PRIME) is a five-year project aiming at enhancing resilience, the ability to adapt to climate change, and improved nutritional status of women and children, mainly through improving livestock and livestock products productivity and market systems. PRIME is helping people diversify their incomes, develop reliable farming methods and improve their overall nutritional status. Creating awareness among households to manage their resources better and more efficiently is an important strategy for PRIME to achieve its goals. Last month, in partnership with creative powerhouse Warner Bros., the project launched a radio soap opera to get inside the homes — and minds — of traditional pastoral families in Ethiopia. Through drama, love and conflict, PRIME wants to educate these communities and challenge some of the key behaviors that threaten their long-term food security, health, and wellbeing.

Through the radio soap opera, PRIME aims to transform some of the inherent behaviors and beliefs that prevent these families from thriving. “This initiative taps into the strong Ethiopian tradition of oral storytelling and harnesses the power of stories to entertain and educate,” says Dominic Graham, Ethiopia Country Director for Mercy Corps. “Our goal is to help people facing repeated drought, hunger and poverty improve their long-term health through better decision making.”

Four Warner Bros. volunteers extended their creative expertise to develop interesting characters, compelling storylines and an impactful promotional strategy. They shared best practices for writing and marketing with our Ethiopia staff members to ensure longevity of the program, and spent time in Ethiopia in order to help shape stories that would be compelling and authentic. The result is a radio drama that is on air in Afar, Oromia and Somali, with dialect and characters tailored to each of the three regions. Incorporating the details that make each of these areas unique, like names and common greetings, establishes familiarity and assures each audience can connect with the characters and messages. The program has been on air for a couple of weeks now and the feedback PRIME obtained so far is encouraging. Preliminary findings indicate that people are relating the story with their own lives and the story is generating discussions about marriage, career, success, livelihoods, natural resources, nutrition and wellbeing. How these discussions will lead to better decision making and how they will reflect on nutritional status remains to be seen. PRIME will formally monitor the progress of the soap opera in terms of achieving its short-term objective at the end of the fifth week of transmission. Marketing

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PRIME And Afar MFI Sign an Agreement to Increase Access to Thousands of Households

Following USAID’s approval, PRIME under IR3, has signed a sub-award agreement with Afar Micro Finance Institute (MFI) to provide a cost sharing grant that is aimed at improving the core financial service of the MFI. The financial support will be used for activities such as opening four new branches in PRIME operational areas, linking branches with core banking solutions, and building the capacity of the management and board of directors of the MFI.By signing this substantial sub-award agreement, PRIME increases access to inclusive financial services in Afar region for businesses and thousands of households. Afar MFI is the first MFI in the region which is supported by PRIME for its establishment under the fund obtained from USAID Islamic financial service cost extension grant.

Please click the link to download the news, PRIME and Afar MFI sign an agreement to increase access to thousands of households