Ethiopia is not the first place that springs to mind as a country of origin for strawberries. Yet at the IlanTot Strawberry Farm, about an hour's drive from Addis Ababa, a few hundred tonnes of this fruit is produced on an annual basis.
They grow the Rotami, Tamar and Roky varieties, and these tasty strawberries are well received by their customers. At this farm, the cooling chain is in place within 20 minutes of of the strawberries being collected from the fields. It continues with them delivering the fruit, with their own trucks, to the cooling rooms at the Addis Ababa Airport. Despite the distance, these strawberries are in their warehouse within 24 hours, making them even fresher than the Spanish product.
IlanTot Strawberry Farm employs more than 550 people, most of whom are women. Besides the owner, who comes from Israel, all the farm personnel, workers and managers are 100% local. The workers have free access to drinking water on the farm and in the nearby school. They also receive English lessons, and the farm supplies electricity to the local church which is connected to the farm's generator.