Ethiopeace Plc, an agro-investment company established by six Israelis, has finalised its castor seed pilot project and started plantation on six hectares, expecting export quality harvest every three months.
The company had been conducting a pilot project in Shinile Zone, located in Somali Region, for the past four years with local communities. Its pilot phase involved testing 44 varieties of castor seeds. Side by side the local pastoralists working on the pilot project had planted vegetables, fruit trees such as papaya, banana, orange, mango, as well as peanuts and soybean for their own consumption.
A total of 46 people from 22 households from the local pastoralist community were involved in the pilot project, Anteneh Gelaye, chief operation manager of the Company said.
The pilot project identified six castor varieties that were suitable to the Shinele environment, according to Anteneh. The company then moved on to actual plantation on six of the 20ha, given to it by the Somali Regional State. Dubbed Gad Project, the company had organised visits to this site and the pilot project site on October 13, 2012.
The visitors included Esayas Kebede, director of agricultural investment at the Ministry of Agriculture, Tadesse Atiya, vice president for credit services of the Development Bank of Ethiopia, Abdulkadir Imen, president of the Somali Regional State and Belaynesh Zevadia, ambassador of Israel. The visit marked the launch of the Gad project.