Food processing, transformation and job creation: Enjera markets in urban Ethiopia

Important changes are happening in agricultural markets worldwide. The rapid growth of cities and the emergence of an urban middle class are transforming food systems, and in particular, the food processing industry. In Ethiopia, this industry employs 1 million people,  around 2 percent of the economically active population, however the way this food processing industry is changing and how it functions, is little understood.

Bart Minten, Thomas Woldu Assefa and Seneshaw Tamru from ESSP presented preliminary research findings at the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI) on 2nd September 2016.  Their research cited specifically on commercial enjera (Ethiopia’s traditional staple pancake) making and its relation to: rice imports used in the mixing of enjera; the characteristics of different scales and locations of enjera making enterprises (EMEs); and the changing nature of the workforce, notably women, engaged in this growing urban market. (LINK TO PRESENTATION)

Enjera 1

This transforming food sector has potentially significant impacts on food policy in Ethiopia. In particular, employment impacts on the off-farm segment (especially for women) and the knock-on effect on farming households, as well as the issues around international trade with these transforming food systems. Moreover, stimulating local rice production to substitute for current imports of rice, could have economically attractive effects.

A new ESSP Working Paper on this research will be available soon.

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Enjera 2