A high-level ministerial delegation from Ethiopia recently visited India to observe and learn from best practices in dryland agriculture, rainwater conservation techniques and agribusiness development.
The visit was facilitated by ICRISAT to strengthen partnership and knowledge sharing between the two countries that have similar climates, landscapes and agricultural practices.
His Excellency Eyasu Abraha Alle, Cabinet Minister, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MoANR) of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, emphasized the importance of agriculture as the driver of the economy in Ethiopia. He stated that 41% of Ethiopia’s GDP, 90% of exports, and over 80% of employment in Ethiopia was dependent on agriculture. “Our focus right now is to transform our agriculture and make Ethiopia not only food secure but also nutrition secure,” he said.
The delegation visited the site of Mission Kakatiya, a flagship project by the state of Telangana to rejuvenate water bodies in the state. They looked at how irrigation infrastructure development could contribute to better livelihoods for small and marginal farmers. About 66% of arable land in Ethiopia lies untapped by irrigation, which could be made productive to make Ethiopian farmers more resilient.
Being welcomed with dazzling shawls and garlands, and treated to traditional dance/drama performances by local artistes was just one part of an exciting and eventful trip for the visitors.
At ICRISAT’s Agribusiness and Innovation Platform the delegation looked at how agri-based small and medium enterprises could be encouraged for a ready and sustained market for agricultural produce. Ethiopian agriculture policy makers are striving to move from a production-oriented mindset towards a market-oriented one to support smallholder farmers with a sustainable, profitable market.
The team interacted with farmers and officers at Mulkanoor Cooperative Rural Bank – a 60-year-old financial institution that provides loans, welfare schemes and assistance to farmers in Karimnagar, Telangana. This helped them understand how the Cooperative used digital technology and agribusiness ventures.
The delegation also explored areas of collaboration on farm mechanization with the National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (ICAR-NAARM) – an institution of the Government of India, for scientists and farmers in Ethiopia through e-learning.
Making a special mention of ICRISAT’s expertise in drought management and drought-tolerant crops, the Minister said that they were very interested at the Smart Food approach of building demand for these crops by collaborating with food processors and the food service industry. He hoped that the Smart Food concept could be replicated in Ethiopia too. Expressing happiness at finally being able to visit ICRISAT – ‘a dream come true’ for them, he hoped that the Ethiopian Government and ICRISAT could work towards a fruitful association in the coming years.
The delegation, which included HE Mr Tesfaye Mengiste Dori, (State Minister, MoANR, Ethiopia), Dr Diriba Gelete Chali (Deputy Director General and Acting Director General, Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute), and other senior officials, visited ICRISAT from 8-12 March 2018.
Click here to know more about ICRISAT’s work in Ethiopia