Tried and tested green innovations improve agriculture in Ethiopia

Farmers at GIZ

Farmers at a GIZ workshop study the growth of different varieties of wheat with different applications of fertilizers.

Certified seeds, crop rotation, the use of a combine harvester, and other innovations like these have been out of reach for many poor farmers in rural Ethiopia. Introducing them to these farmers is a fast and guaranteed way to increase their productivity and income.

January 9, 2019
  • SDG: #2, #4, #8, #12
  • SECTORS: Development Consulting
  • COUNTRIES: Ethiopia
  • CLIENT: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ)
  • CONTRACT VALUE: EUR 5,125,795
  • DURATION: 1 July 2015–31 March 2020

Ethiopia’s rural population suffers from increasing food insecurity caused by a combination of high population growth, deforestation, and a lack of efficient and sustainable agriculture. Smallholder farmers haven’t been able to increase their production, which means that they and their local communities are becoming heavily dependent on the global food market.

Through the German initiative, Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food sector, GIZ aims to make smallholder farms more productive, raising farmers’ incomes and increasing the availability of locally grown food in local markets. 

Picking the low-hanging fruits

To achieve this, the Green Innovation Centre in Ethiopia is introducing and increasing the adoption rate of proven innovations that farmers in Western Europe have used for years and which increase productivity almost immediately. Doing this ensures the maximum impact while minimising insecurity, as such innovations are guaranteed to work as long as they’re adapted to the local setting and implemented in a sustainable way, with local stakeholders’ support.

These innovations are combined with a general effort to professionalise the agricultural sector through the training and capacity building of relevant parties such as farmers’ organisations.

All the initiatives are implemented with a focus on strengthening the value chains of two crops: wheat and faba beans. These crops were chosen after an evaluation showed that both grow well in Ethiopian soils, are great for alternating to maintain soil nutrition, and produce sought-after, easy-to-sell commodities.

30 %

of the population (about 30.6M people) in Ethiopia still live below the poverty line.

Strong reputation ensures sustainable implementation

The Innovation Centre in Ethiopia works closely with existing structures such as the government, farmers’ organizations, and the private sector to ensure that local stakeholders feel ownership over the innovations and will continue to take responsibility for them.

NIRAS is in charge of the project and was chosen partly because of our strong experience and reputation in Ethiopia. As we are already so well-integrated into Ethiopia’s agricultural sectors, there is more interest in taking over the implementation and the upscaling of initiatives.

Ludger Uhlen

Ludger Uhlen

Consultant Natural Resource Management

Stuttgart, Germany

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