Over the past decade, Ethiopia has experienced high rates of economic growth which has led to poverty reduction. The annual GDP growth is 10% with the agriculture sector contributing 45% and employing 73% of the population. The Government of Ethiopia (GoE) has consistently devoted a significant portion of its budget to pro-poor programs and investments and one of these investments is the 2nd Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) which focuses on shifting agriculture from food security and productivity to commercialization of the sector and increasing the role of private sector. In order to effectively implement the sector vision and the GTP, GoE established the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) in 2010 as a delivery bureau to address systemic bottlenecks in the ag. sector by supporting and enhancing the capability of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and other public, private and nongovernmental implementing partners. GoE’s deliberate efforts to enhance the agricultural sector, the availability of 35M HA of agricultural land, and increasing private sector interest in agriculture places Ethiopia on a path toward agricultural transformation.
The sector however, still faces constraints that prevent it from becoming competitive and fostering inclusive economic growth which include: [i] seed shortage particularly Early Generation Seed (EGS); [ii] inefficiencies in input distribution; [iii] limited access to major grain markets and high post-harvest losses; and; [iv] sub-optimal environment for private sector to thrive.
To address these challenges, AGRA will build on past successes and learnings in Ethiopia where AGRA invested US$ 18M with the bulk of these investments in Input Systems Development and Policy & Advocacy but with a renewed emphasis on country support and policy engagement. AGRA’s country support in Ethiopia recognizes the critical role played by ATA in sector planning, coordination and accountability and thus will not replicate but support this. Further, AGRA is working with its key partners to design a support model that builds on existing investments and ensures complementarity and realization of synergies. Additional investments will include enhancing systems and farmer levels development in alignment with government priorities. The strategy lays emphasis on driving a gender inclusive transformation through gender integrated approaches and equitable implementation of its interventions. It targets four regions: Amhara, Oromia, SNNP & Tigray and will cost ~ 15M for five years. Specific interventions will include:
- Country support and policy engagement which entails support to GoE [I] to implement the GTP II; [ii] provide advisory services to the Ministry of Agriculture; and [iii] collaborate with the ATA in implementation of the Agriculture Commercialization Cluster (ACC) Strategy; and [iv] facilitate the creation an enabling environment that attracts increased private sector investments.
- Scaling up system and farmer level initiatives in the four target regions;
- Strengthening input supply systems and linkages to output markets in order to facilitate the uptake of yield-enhancing agricultural technologies
- Enhancing input distribution and accessibility through electronic voucher systems
- Expanded market access through value addition, structured trade, quality enhancement and aggregation.
- GoE and the private sector will be AGRA’s scale and sustainability partners in Ethiopia.