Strengthening the seed sector in Ethiopia

Project description

Title: Supporting Sustainable Agricultural Productivity in Ethiopia (SSAP)
Commissioning Party: German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)
Country: Ethiopia
Partner: Federal Plant Variety Office (BSA), Seed companies: KWS Saat SE Co. KGaA & NPZ KG, German Association of Plant Breeders (GFPi e.V.)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)​​​​​​​
Overall term: 2015 to 2023

A female barley breeder in Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) inspecting barley varieties. Copyright GIZ/Mulugeta Gebrekidan/2020


In Ethiopia, the agricultural sector employs about 70 per cent of the working population and is an important pillar of the economy, accounting for 38 per cent of the gross domestic product. However, the low productivity of Ethiopian agriculture cannot ensure food security for the rapidly growing population. The use of resistant and well-adapted seeds is one of the key factors for increasing agricultural productivity. Currently, certified seeds of improved varieties are only used on about 20 per cent of arable land. Farmers’ demand for certified seed of adapted varieties that achieve stable yields through resistance to common plant diseases is high. The lack of availability, however, limits their use.


Improved conditions for the production of early generation seeds and the promotion of the Ethiopian seed sector contribute to increasing agricultural productivity.

A member of seed production and Marketing cooperative in Amhara region of Ethiopia holding his well performing barley seed. Copyright: GIZ/Muluneh Tolosa/ 2020


Variety development: The seed companies KWS and NPZ as well as the German Association of Plant Breeders GFPi, support the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research (EIAR) in breeding locally adapted barley and faba bean varieties with better yield, resistance and quality.

Variety testing and release: In cooperation with the German Federal Plant Variety Office (BSA), the project promotes the application of international standards in seed quality control and variety release. Farmers gain access to the best performing varieties that were tested in a rigorous process.

Variety protection: The project supports its partners in establishing a royalty system to generate investments in variety development to maintain resistance and stable yields of crop varieties in the long-term.

Early generation seed (EGS) production: SSAP promotes the availability of EGS. It assists selected private seed producers and EIAR to significantly increase the quantity and quality of pre-basic and basic seed of non-hybrid varieties of cereals and pulses.

Legal & institutional frame conditions: SSAP supports the MoA to enable frame conditions for a resilient seed sector by implementing the National Seed Policy (2020), coordinating public, private and development partners and supporting a market-oriented production of early generation seed.

Last update: December 2021

Electronic field data collection training for breeding experts from different agricultural research centers. Copyright: GIZ/Leulsenaye Damena/2021

Additional information