Ethio-German Agricultural Training Center
Title: Ethio-German Agricultural Training Center (ATC)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMEL)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)
Overall term: 2010 to 2014
Agriculture is Ethiopia’s most important economic sector. However, access to modern technologies and equipment is very limited, and cultivation techniques and farm machinery are outdated. Moreover, there is a shortage of qualified personnel capable of maintaining and making best use of the agricultural machinery under local conditions. No practically based training is available for farmers in the use of contemporary machinery and farm management methods.
Inappropriate agricultural practices are reducing soil fertility in Ethiopia, with a consequent decline in yields. This means food has to be imported. The government is paying for these imports on international markets in foreign currency, with the result that the country’s currency reserves are being depleted.
Agricultural experts pursue further practical and theoretical training. Course participants learn modern and sustainable methods of agricultural production. The training includes the targeted and efficient use of agricultural machinery, as well the skills to maintain that machinery.
The Ethio-German Agricultural Training Center (ATC) is located in Kulumsa, about 170 km south-east of Addis Ababa. The centre works together with seven private-sector enterprises.
The training provided by ATC takes a holistic approach, while encompassing a broad range of topics. These include rotation cropping, plant protection, irrigation and the sustainable use of resources. The centre also teaches subjects such as business practices, administration, marketing and value chains. Activities concentrate on the mechanised cultivation of cereals and potatoes, as well as soil fertility and agricultural production systems for smallholder farmers.
The project is located in the region of Arsi, which is considered to be the ‘nation’s breadbasket’. Subsidiary offices are opening throughout the country.
Results achieved so far
The project has financed the construction of an additional training building. By January 2014, some 1,400 Ethiopian experts had already completed their training courses. They have learned how to use agricultural machinery more effectively and to keep it in working order, and they have learned to use modern production methods.
Besides this, by joining together in new organisational forms, smaller enterprises are gaining better access to modern farming technology. On the farms that employ graduates of the ATC, harvests are expected to increase considerably. This will contribute to food security in Ethiopia, and help raise farm incomes.