Exhibition Participation Raises a Union
Exhibition Participation raises a union’s income by more than 30 percent
MakuloYayo, 27, who lives in Moyale Town, identified the gap between the production of and demand for livestock when he worked for government as a Cooperative Promoter and for an NGO called AFD (Action for Development) as a Community Development Facilitator from 2008 to 2010. He noticed that pastoralists were not getting the price they deserved because they did not have access to fair markets. Equipped with knowledge about pastoralists’ livestock production, promotion, and market, Makulo’s decision to join Oda Roba Pastoralist Cooperative Union (ORPCU) as the manager in 2011 was largely driven by his ambition to put his expertise into good use and support the union obtain access to fair market.
Under Makulo’s management, the union has come a long way. Before 2011, the union was struggling on its own, making little progress towards market access. Over the last four years, Makulo worked hard to link the union with a number of partners that can potentially transform the way ORPCU does business. Mercy Corps, AFD, ACORD, CARE, and CIFA are some of such partners that are currently working with the union to support it technically and in search of markets. PRIME’s (Pastoralist Areas Resilience Improvement through Market Expansion) support to ORPCU to participate in the African Livestock and Exhibition” in May 2014 was a major breakthrough in the union’s search for fair markets.
The African Livestock Exhibition and Congress (ALEC) was an exhibition targeted at providing a platform to bring together all stakeholders across the livestock value chain, and presenting a unique opportunity for all related to the field to reach new horizons of effective cooperation and discuss vital issues that are standing in the way of the sector development.
Makulo’s participation in the exhibition took the union to the next level. It created the opportunity to meet a lot of exporters and bargain price. As a result of that exhibition, the union struck deals with three exporters that operate in Mojo: Halas, Organic Export Abattoir and Luna Export Abattoir. Before the exhibition, the union sold a goat for 29 birr on the average. In the exhibition, however, the union got a higher offer of an average of 34 birr for a goat. That is an increase of about 46 per cent in the income of the union and the members. ORPCU could have sold much more goats if it had not been for the challenges of a holding ground, a place near the abattoir to keep the goats for a few days until the goats regain the weight they lose during travel. After signing the agreement, the union found out that the abattoirs did not have holding grounds. Since December, however, the union has moved to the trade of camels as they found it more lucrative. In less than two months, the union has sold about 126 camels, earning a profit of more than 88,000 birr. Although Makulo cannot tell the exact figures, he reckons the camel trade so far has boosted their profitability by at least 13 percent. “Thanks for the ALEC participation,” says Makulo, “our revenues are increasing and we hope they best is yet to come.”
One of the objectives of USAID-PRIME is to improve livestock markets through enhancing market linkages and improving the flow of livestock market information. ALEC is just one of the many activities the project has implemented for improving market linkage. ORCPU is just one of the hundreds of exporters, traders and unions that benefitted from the exhibition.