7) Priority investments set for agriculture in the drylands of Ethiopia
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (24 April 2015) – New approaches and priority international investments have been agreed for agricultural research and development in the drylands of Ethiopia. This comes from a series of strategy meetings between the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
Four areas with greatest opportunities have been identified: intensification of legumes for better human and environmental health; expanding cereal production by promoting the industrial potential of sorghum and other millets, including tef; scaling up of watershed management for more intensive agriculture; and new approaches to help farmers manage climate variability.
“These identified opportunities can only be tackled through partnership at all levels on the value chain and making sure each step on this vertical chain has what it needs to act,” said Dr Fentahun Mengistu the Director General of EIAR.
“We need to bring in new innovations and skills to capitalize on these opportunities. For long-term sustainability of these efforts, agribusiness incubators are important for building entrepreneurial skills and capacity in Ethiopia. ICRISAT has experience in setting up agribusiness incubators throughout India and now in other parts of Africa. South-south collaborations between India and Africa can accelerate these initiatives. It will also be important to involve women and youth as entrepreneurs and seeing agriculture as a viable and exciting business opportunity with the adoption of new technologies and leveraging ICT tools to support market integration,” emphasized Dr David Bergvinson, ICRISAT Director General.
These new investments were launched in Ethiopia during the ICRISAT Governing Board meeting held at Addis Ababa on 24 April 2015. The ICRISAT Governing Board Chair, Dr Chandra Madramootoo noted that “Ethiopia is a priority country for ICRISAT due to the government’s focus on food and nutrition security and recognition of the important role agriculture can play in the country’s development. The government’s approach to partnership to capitalize on the opportunities will be key to success.”
These four areas call for demand driven agriculture, and taking the demands of farmers and the market into account. This is important in order to prioritize research investments and capitalize on markets in Ethiopia and for export.
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