The Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency (EHDA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with International Saudi Agriculture (ISA), enabling the latter to export organic bananas to Saudi Arabia, according to a report from Ethiopian Business News.

Haileselassie Tekie, EHDA's director general, said the deal would enable Ethiopia to earn more than US$100m from the export of 60,000 tonnes of organic bananas to Saudi Arabia within six months.

The agreement will benefit up to 30,000 smallholder farmers directly or indirectly through better market prices for their produce, while also creating jobs.

More than 13,000ha of land has reportedly been cultivated with organic bananas in the SNNPR, one of Ethiopia's nine ethnic divisions.

ISA's general manager, Abdulkareem Al-Ghamdi, said that since demand for Ethiopian organic bananas was so high, the company had decided to export internationally and was planning to provide training in post-harvest handling to meet global standards.

The company has already finalised preparations to begin exporting to Saudi Arabia shortly, according to Ethiopian Business News.