Contributing to sustainable agricultural productivity

Project description

Title: Support to Sustainable Agricultural Productivity in Ethiopia (SSAP)
Commissioning Party: German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)
Country: Ethiopia
Lead executing agency: Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture
Overall term: 2015 to 2017

Context

Large parts of Ethiopia have very favourable climatic conditions for agricultural production, especially in the highlands. Yet this potential is far from being fully realised. As a result of difficult farming conditions and out-dated production methods, yields are low even by African standards.

As many as ten million people depend on regular food aid. Continuous population growth means that the country increasingly relies on imports of basic foods. At the same time, exports of individual agricultural products generate urgently needed foreign currency.

The agricultural sector forms the backbone of the Ethiopian economy. Around 80 per cent of the population works in agriculture, and almost half of the gross domestic product is generated in this sector.

Objective

The conditions for production in the agricultural and food sectors in Ethiopia are improved by the sustainable use of natural resources and targeted use of supplies and equipment.

Approach

The project is working in three areas to help sustainably increase agricultural productivity in Ethiopia.

In the first area, GIZ is promoting expert dialogue on agriculture and advising the Ethiopian Government on priority topics within its plan for improving the sector. These topics include continuing the development of cooperatives and associations, and establishing a quality system for producing seed and certifying varieties. Exchange with German authorities, such as the German Federal Plant Variety Office, and business associations is an important part of this work. Furthermore, the activities enable Ethiopian decision-makers to step up their networking at international level, which ensures that they have knowledge of modern agricultural production methods.

The second component aims to strengthen the seed sector and maintain genetic resources. It promotes the capabilities of Ethiopian institutions that are responsible for maintaining and sustainably using genetic resources, and cultivating and distributing seed. Researchers, plant breeders and technicians receive training, and equipment is supplied to institutions. In addition, the breeding process is accelerated by exchanging wheat and barley varieties with German partners and introducing modern breeding methods. Smallholders have better access to new varieties through seed multiplication and distribution by other smallholders. Activities also support the Ethiopian Government in implementing the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The third component provides training in sustainable production methods, which allows farmers and agricultural experts to obtain the knowledge and skills needed to implement agricultural mechanisation and modern cultivation practices. At the Ethio-German Agricultural Training Center (ATC), techniques for maintaining soil fertility are being tested and demonstrated. Furthermore, knowledge is shared between ATC and research institutes, universities and agricultural vocational schools, so called ATVET colleges. Thus, know-how about modern, sustainable agricultural production is widely disseminated. ATC graduates apply these production methods and business management approaches, and offer services to smallholders who cannot afford modern machinery. This increases both crop yields and the incomes of those employed in agriculture.