Senselet Food Processing is a potato processing company that was set up by Veris in 2015 to contribute to developing the potato value chain in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a country that has substantial potential for growing potato but this potential has been largely untapped. The potato value chain is underdeveloped due to a shortage of high quality seed varieties, seed producers, technology, logistics, storage, potato knowledge and processing capacity. Senselet invests in the potato value chain and wants to link farmers to the market. Senselet’s factory has been set up in accordance with European standards and knowledge and produces high quality potato crisps, branded as Sun Chips, that are sold locally in the Ethiopian market.
Senselet aims to contribute to food security by helping to increase availability of potatoes, increasing farmer income and building a more stable potato value chain. More than one million farmers grow potatoes in Ethiopia, but yields are estimated around 20% of the potential. Training of farmers, better seed and other inputs, better storage and long term off-take agreements for potatoes that reward quality will result in an improvement of the potato value chain and incomes of smallholder farmers through stable prices and higher yields. This will start the fly wheel of more investment, higher quality and more productivity.
Senselet is part of the project “Potato Processing in Ethiopia: missing link in the value chain” within the Facility for Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Food Security (FDOV) from de Rijksdienst voor ondernemend Nederland (RVO). For this project Veris and Senselet partner with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and receive particular support from the Embassy in Addis Abeba. Wageningen University and Research (WUR) is knowledge partner and is involved on training of agronomists and smallholder farmers, advices on the potato value chain and procedures and systems with respect to amongst others food safety. Senselet and Veris further cooperate with European seed potato companies and farmers that multiply seed potatoes in Ethiopia to provide seed to smallholder farmers and produce potatoes.