Value chain development
ASE admits that its emphasis on developing market opportunities to the smallholder farmers so far was so low. For many years, even today, ASE is working in food in secured places, and had a clear purpose of reducing food gaps of the local people who have been suffering from serious shortage of food, during the long dry seasons. The very fact that ASE is engaged in food security works did not give it enough energy and stimulus to think and act in the marketing front, as the organization normally thinks that the first generation problem is not related to markets but the issue of food self sufficiency, which could be solved as a result of improving productivity of crops and livestock. Recent changes in economic development as well as in attitudes and knowledge about the importance of marketing even in food in secure areas has however drove ASE to think differently. ASE has learned that even the most deprived agricultural areas of the country, have some potentials that could be transformed in to great assets if appropriate attention is paid to, through marketing and extension interventions.
Because of these reasons ASE has begun to turn its direction to the marketing front bit by bit. Since the last organizational strategic plan, some developments have been observed to promote market developments in ASE working areas. A new position was created at field level on PME and entrepreneurship development, with a main task of promoting a mentality of business among the small holder farmers - so that to create small and micro enterprises, there by enhance the transformation of subsistence agriculture in to market oriented business. In addition, as a result of its engagement in a knowledge management network called LIFE - net, ASE had opportunity to learn good lessons from the impressive works of SNV on value chain development. As a follow up to that, ASE has employed a consultant and conducted two value chain studies on "spices", "Bulla" and cassava in Goro and Amaro districts, respectively. ASE was also involved in improving the Amaro coffee quality through better extension services and creating better access to market. As a result of this intervention Amaro Coffee was promoted in to a second grade in the national coffee auction. The other development along the marketing line is staff capacity development in a livelihood and market course and value chain development. Following the training, each program has conducted a sub sector analysis and identified potential value chain commodity and started ground works to fully engage in value chain promotion.
Therefore, the strategic direction to promote value chain development in the upcoming period will include: