My first reaction when I read this story was, “Ethiopia? Really??”
After all, all we’ve ever heard about Ethiopia over the last few decades has had to do with drought, starvation, mass migrations, civil wars, and death.
This story is about a western farmer who’s expatriated to Ethiopia, partnered with some local entrepreneurs and is building as successful dairy in eastern Africa.
What the british farmer is finding is that having local boots on the ground help with aspects such as communication and navigating the local bureaucracy, while he tends to have more access to capital.
Why Farm in Ethiopia?
The farm didn’t start out as a purely commercial venture as you might imagine. In this case the expat farmer met the Ethiopians and had the idea of opening a dairy operation as a way to provide occupational therapy for mental patients.
And, while it’s still in its infancy — 20 cows provide milk that is hauled to a bus-stop daily via horse drawn carriage for transportation to markets — the group of dairy farmers has designs on a more substantial investment in infrastructure and dairy products production.
All in all, this story incorporates a lot of commonalities between many of the expats I meet are doing — Foregoing some financial gain in order to try to make their new home a bit more livable for themselves and for the locals.