In this paper we consider the microeconomic evidence on the determinants of
firm performance in Ethiopia, with a focus on grain traders. We analyse both
internal and external factors, and the relative impacts of these factors on the
performance of grain traders. Different economic indicators seem to suggest
that grain traders have become increasingly unviable as reflected by absence
or stagnation of growth. These firms suffer from a host of internal problems
(e.g. weak human resources and other assets) and of external factors such as
access to credit, market facilities, policy and regulatory framework, etc.).
Hence without renewed focus on promoting firm growth, especially grain
traders through improving access to warehouses, relaxing credit constraints,
and improving the macroeconomic and regulatory environment, not only
grain traders but also rural and urban households will face a very uncertain
and untenable future which will hamper the performance of grain markets
and the battle against poverty and food insecurity.