WHERE WE WORK
Dr. Aberra Debelo, Country Director
Kirkos Sub-City, Kebele18, House No. 033 Kazanchis,
PO Box 12771
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
See Staff section for more information.
SG 2000-Ethiopia History
Ethiopia’s agriculture is still characterized, for the most part, as low-input/low-output subsistence agriculture. The level of technology is generally basic, and productivity per hectare is perhaps the lowest in the world. Even in high agricultural potential areas of the country, in which crop-based systems predominate and population densities are highest, productivity is constrained by lack of knowledge, lack of finance, and poorly developed markets.
From 1979/80 to 1991/92, annual food crop production ranged between 4.87 and 7.81 million tons, whereas per capita food production for the same years declined from 174 kg/year in 1979/80 to 92 kg/year in 1991/92.
The initiation of the Agricultural Development-Led Industrialization (ADLI) policy by the Ethiopian Government in 1992 created a policy environment conducive for growth in the agricultural sector. In 1993, the SG2000-Ethiopia Country Program was established as an “implant” into the Ethiopian national extension system, under the leadership of then SAA Regional Director, Dr. Marco Quinones. As in all its country programs, SG 2000-Ethiopia sought to introduce new approaches to extension aimed at increasing farm-level productivity, especially of smallholder farmers.
The SG 2000-Ethiopia initiative had as its main objective the more effective transfer of locally and externally available improved food production technologies appropriate to local farm-level circumstances. The goal was to increase production and productivity and help achieve food security and increase farmer incomes.
During 2010, SG2000-Ethiopia restructured and reorganized its work, in order to bring it in line with the new SAA matrix and strategy. Although improving crop productivity remains a major activity, the new strategy focuses more attention on post-harvest opportunities, and especially on improving the access of women farmers and agroprocessing groups to agricultural extension advisory services. In addition, SG2000-Ethiopia is working to strengthen public/private partnerships in ways that will enable the country’s emerging private sector to help strengthen extension advisory delivery systems.
Current Program Priorities, Activities and Partnerships
As Ethiopian agriculture has changed over time, however, the national extension system has responded by broadening its agenda. The extension system now often finds itself supporting farmers’ efforts to organize into cooperatives, addressing post-harvest and marketing issues, and partnering with a range of service providers and organizations, often from the private sector.
In general terms, the SAA organizational structure reflects these changing priorities, and emphasizes a more integrated approach to extension, one in which improving crop productivity goes hand-in-hand with increasing the effectiveness of post-production handling and marketing. We are also giving greater emphasis to exploring and promoting the development of new public/private partnerships, through which greater opportunities for bolstering extension services and reaching farmers will arise. Along with these, capacity building of extension workers and farmers and monitoring, evaluation and learning is emphasized to facilitate efficient SG 2000 country program implementation.
In 2010, a tri-partite partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Oxfam America (OA) and SAA was entered into, in order to implement a project known as “Strengthening Extension Service Delivery in Ethiopia.” funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). The objective is to improve extension service delivery to smallholder farmers for increased food security and income at household level. The MoA oversees project implementation while OA strengthens the infrastructure of FTCs and supports the mobility and communication skills of the development agents (DAs) being placed at each FTC to educate farmers on improved agricultural technology. For its part, SG 2000 introduces diversified and innovative agricultural technologies and approaches to the FTCs, builds DA capacity and introduces revenue generation activities through a loan guarantee fund, so that FTCs can eventually cover their operational costs. SAA also encourages the participation of the private sector by persuading input dealers and farmers’ cooperatives to participate in extension service delivery and improve market access for smallholder farmers. The project is being implemented in all of Ethiopia’s regional states – at 215 FTCs – and is strengthening the capacity needs of 645 DAs, 180 Subject Matter Specialists (SMSs) and some 215,000 farm families. The best practices from the pilot projects, involving SAA and OA, will be scaled up by the government, to be used in other agricultural development areas of the country.
SAA has also forged a partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with two projects; 1) supporting women’s agroprocessing groups, which started in October 2010 with an aim to organize resource-poor rural women into agroprocessing groups, add value to their produce, and create market access to increase their income and food security. 2) supporting the promotion of improved technologies of rice and other crops in a value chain approach in Tigray Regional State of Ethiopia based on SAA’s past rice promotion efforts in the region. The project started in July 2011 and will run for a period of four years.
Crop Productivity Enhancement (Theme 1)
As part of the Theme 1 activities, SG2000-Ethiopia use a participatory approach to establish training platforms where farmers can learn by doing and adapt new technologies to their own needs and circumstances. A growing number of women farmers are involved in the learning process, primarily through the use of Women Assisted Demonstrations (WADs).
SG2000-Ethiopia provides the inputs required for both Technology Option Plots (TOPS) and WADs, as well as backstopping for the extension agents who provide technical support and supervision to TOP and WAD farmers. A total of 348 TOPs and 522 WADs were established in Ethiopia in 2010. As well as the five priority crops planned, these demonstrations included five cereals, one legume and one vegetable crop.
In addition to these demonstration plots, SG2000 facilitates the establishment of production test plots (PTPs) by more advanced farmers who are accustomed to buying and using modern inputs, though in some cases they may need technical advice on how to properly apply them. In 2010, some 8,700 PTPs were established. Where needed, technical advice was provided by District Agricultural Officers to these farmers.
The crops included in the TOPs, WADs and PTPs (rice, wheat, teff, maize, haricot bean, sorghum and potato) are selected by participating farmers, based on the crops’ local importance and priority. In 2010, SG2000 staff provided practical training for establishing and managing the plots for 870 farmers, about 60% of whom were women, as well as 174 District Agricultural Officers, and 64 Subject Matter Specialists (SMSs).
Farmers field days are organized to showcase the distinct features of each technology option and their effects on crop productivity in selected intervention areas. In 2010, eleven ‘higher level field days’ were held, attended by 179 SMSs and higher officials, and 1,175 farmers. A further 45 Farmer Training Center (FTC) level (community level) field days were held. Over 5,000 people (including guests) attended these events in total.
Crop Production Technology plots implemented in 2010
Post-harvest Handling and Agroprocessing (Theme 2)
As part of our activities under Theme 2, Postharvest Extension Learning Platforms (PHELPs) are established at the FTCs of the various kebeles (farmer associations) based on a needs assessment. In 2010, PHELPs were established in three areas; Enebi Chifar, Denkaka and the Semen Bellesa kebeles of Amhara, Oromia & SNNP Regions. SG2000-Ethiopia also organize field days to demonstrate improved postharvest technologies. In 2010, four demonstrations of improved technologies including multi-crop threshers, a grain cleaner and harvester were held. Following these demonstrations, four farmers have purchased the multi-crop thresher and are now providing threshing services to the surrounding farmers, while demand for such services appears to be increasing.
SG2000-Ethiopia help to organize women agroprocessing groups to add value to their produce and create market access for income generation. In 2010, training in areas such as basic business skills, cooperative management, rice parboiling, grain postharvest handling and agrobusiness enterprise management and development, including warehouse management, were organized for a total of 624 newly identified and existing women’s AP groups, extension workers and farmers.
As a result of the demonstrations and awareness creation at PHELPs, FTCs and on farmers’ fields, demand for threshing services by farmers is increasing. Some entrepreneurial farmers have purchased multi-crop threshers and are providing threshing services to local farmers. As a result of this, farmers are saving time, labor, and getting quality products at premium prices into the marketplace.
Public–Private Partnerships and Market Access (Theme 3)
In line with the objectives of Theme 3, public–private partnership activities in Ethiopia aim to build the capacity of the country’s emerging private sector agricultural enterprises, such as input suppliers and post-production processors, in order to bolster agricultural advisory services to smallholder farmers.
In Ethiopia, the public sector is still dominant in seed production systems, but private, community-based seed production is on the rise. In 2010, SG2000-Ethiopia ran 22 training sessions for farmers and trainers in four states, providing capacity building to over 180 trainers and 200 farmers on seed multiplication. The training sessions focused on hybrid maize, potato and wheat and, in addition to technical production techniques, also covered seed marketing. As there is strong demand for hybrid maize seed in Oromia and Amahara regions, farmers were encouraged to tap into the market through outgrower schemes. These outgrowers received all inputs from the government through their cooperatives, and established hybrid maize seed production on 2,457 hectares.
Hybrid maize seed production in Oromia & Amahara Regions of Ethiopia
While involvement of the private sector in extension service delivery in Ethiopia is slow at the present time, SG 2000 has initiated discussions with some private sector organizations and a number of private companies agreed to become private partners to SAA in extension activities.
Relationships between farmers, researchers, extension professionals and agribusiness companies have always been relatively weak in many countries in the region. In an effort to overcome these gaps, SG2000-Ethiopia and the Asela Malt Factory co-sponsored a 2-day meeting in June 2010 to establish rules and regulations for Research–Extension–Farmer Advisory Councils. Manuals compiled as a result were distributed to all council members and stakeholders.
Human Resource Development (Theme 4)
The program at Haramaya University in Ethiopia continues to make progress even though SAFE funding has been phased out. Staff have continued to carry out field visits in support of Supervised Enterprise Projects (SEPs), despite transportation constraints at the level of the university as a whole. This is particularly impressive as SEP supervision is the most challenging aspect of the program, requiring considerable time, human resources and transportation resources. The program is well supported by the University President, who takes a keen personal interest in program activities.
At Hawassa University, 28 students (including six women) graduated in July 2010. Students presented their SEP reports and proposals at a workshop, which was well attended by College of Agriculture staff.
SAFE has begun working with Bahir Dar University to develop a mid-career program, which will be launched in 2012. The University is currently involved in the SAFE-initiated national value chain extension training needs survey.
Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Sharing (Theme 5)
As the new Theme 5 gets underway in Ethiopia, activities in 2010 were largely focused on providing ME&L support to the new project – Strengthening the Ethiopian Agricultural Extension Delivery System – funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Key activities included the design of an ME&L implementation plan, preparation of tools for carrying out baseline surveys and needs assessments, and the finalization of the thematic and country logframes for Ethiopia.
The ME&L team also supported the SAA project, Self-Sustainability of Women’s Agroprocessing Cooperatives in Rural Ethiopia, funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The Ethiopian Theme 5 Coordinator participated in the design of baseline survey tools, was trained on data collection, sampling and data management, and deployed a team of supervisors and enumerators to carry out the project baseline survey.
A rapid survey was undertaken in selected SG 2000 project sites to assess the implementation of SG 2000 demonstration plots (TOPs, WADs and Production Test Plots) and to investigate efficient and effective ways of data collection for future ME&L work. Lessons/feedback on the implementation of FLPs (Farmer Learning Platforms) were communicated to the Crop Productivity Enhancement team.
Important SG 2000-Ethiopia Achievements
SG 2000-Ethiopia activities began by establishing 161 maize and wheat on-farm Extension Management Training Plots (EMTP) in two high-potential agriculture regions of the country during the program’s first year. The following year, the number of participating farmers and SG 2000 regions increased to 1,474 and 4, respectively. In 1995, the number EMTPs grew up to a little more than 3,000. This was the peak number of SG 2000-sponsored demonstration plots established in Ethiopia during a single cropping season.
The results of these three years of EMTPs demonstrated that it is possible to significantly increase the yield of staple food crops in Ethiopia by two- to four-fold through the use of locally developed and available research outputs. These convincing on-farm demonstration results led the then Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) to launch a similar model of extension intervention in the country. Based on the SG 2000 approach, the TGE designed a new extension program known as the “National Extension Intervention Program” (NEIP), whose purpose was to dramatically scale up the demonstration program.
The number of NEIP demonstration plots grew from 32,047 in the 1995/96 crop season to 3.6 million in 2000/01. The overall average yield of maize, wheat and teff for the seven-year period from 1993/94 to 2000/01 was 50, 28 and 16 qt/ha, respectively, compared to 16, 11, and 7 qt/ha for the traditional plots for the same crop during the same period.
After the government’s adoption and expansion of the on-farm demonstration plots, SG 2000 decided to shift its interventions to other production-influencing factors, such as: promotion of post-harvest technologies (multi-crop threshers and shellers, improved grain silos, and the introduction of roller mills); development and popularization of broad-bed makers (BBM); the development of a grain inventory credit system; demonstration of conservation tillage technologies; the promotion of striga-resistant sorghum varieties and of late, blight-resistant potato varieties; the introduction of quality protein maize (QPM); and support to the research system to help refine fertilizer rate recommendations and identify such technologies as wheat row planting. In addition to supporting the government’s effort in regular training of Development Agents, Supervisors, Subject Matter Specialists, and farmers, SG 2000-Ethiopia also collaborated with the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE), a sister organization of the Sasakawa Africa Association, with partial financing of the academic, lodging and other fees for higher education (BSc, MSC and PhD) abroad and at Alemaya University (now Haramaya University).
As a result of all these collaborative efforts, the use of agricultural inputs increased notably, and food crop production and productivity per unit area increased dramatically (see table).
* Source: CSA, May 2009; ** Source: MoARD, 2009