Friday, June 20, 2014

The British expat who has opened a farm in Ethiopia

(Jun 20, 2014, (BBC))--Beside the small town of Adiguden a group of cows prance and buck when released from their shed into a paddock beneath the piercing sunshine of the midday sun in northern Ethiopia. They are owned by a British entrepreneur and his Ethiopian partners, who have created a new dairy company called AJGG Dairy Products, based in Ethiopia's Tigray region bordering Eritrea.

It is early days for the business, which still has to use a horse-drawn cart for the daily milk run from the 2.5 hectare (6.2 acre) farm to the local bus station, from where its product is then driven 35km (22 miles) to be sold in Makelle, Tigray's capital. Hence you might ask John Crisp, the Brit behind the joint venture: why on earth open a dairy farm in Ethiopia?

"It is a little complicated," says the 57-year-old.
Mr Crisp originally met his four AJGG partners through an organisation working with the mentally ill in Mekelle. This led to the idea of how a dairy farm could offer occupational therapy to patients recovering from mental health problems.

Twenty cows later and Mr Crisp has an 80% stake in an operational small business, with April's move into new facilities an important step toward establishing the first dairy processing facility in northern Ethiopia.

The creation of the company comes as milk is increasingly popular in Ethiopia, especially as the country's middle class grows, people's disposable incomes increase, and more homes purchase refrigerators. Read more from BBC »    

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