Friday, July 12, 2024

AGRA curves out strategy to bolster agri-food systems


African-based agriculture organization, AGRA, unveils its five year strategy to bolster agri-food systems in Ethiopia.
The strategy which aims to strengthen the resilience of smallholder farmers by strengthening seed systems and adopting promotion of sustainable farming practices, is said to be in line with the country’s ten-year economic development plan (2021-2030).
At the launch event held on July 6th, 2023 at the Skylight hotel, Tilahun Amede, head of the AGRA Ethiopia office, expressed that the mission of the organization is to increase the annual agriculture productivity by 30 percent, “The 2023-2027 strategy focuses on improving seeds, creating agricultural efficiency, irrigation, market linkage strengthening of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and enhancing the country’s capability to design policies, strategies and flagships for execution and monitoring.”
“By enhancing climate-smart technologies and practices for sustainable farming, the strategy aims to decrease climate change impact on the agriculture sector by 30-40 percent. The strategy is designed to impact up to 2 million farmers in Ethiopia,” Tilahun further highlighted.

(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

Speaking during the launching ceremony, AGRA’s Board Chair and former PM, Hailemariam Dessalegn said, “Agriculture has always been a top priority for Ethiopia as the country seeks to leverage on developing huge underutilized arable land. Modernizing production systems, developing irrigation infrastructure, improving uptake of technology, boosting agricultural export revenues and import substitution, are a top priority for the country. We are committed to work with the government and the private sector to drive innovation and investment in the sector, ensuring that the benefits of agricultural transformation reach all Ethiopians.”
Fikru Regassa, State Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, said, “We appreciate the invaluable contribution that AGRA has made in our country. I am optimistic that together we can enhance food security in Ethiopia and address our country’s strategic decision to stop relying on imported seed.”
As indicated, the strategy is aligned to the country’s long-term economic development blueprint, 2021-2030, that envisages building a climate-resilient green economy.
“By working together we will boost agricultural productivity in Ethiopia which currently contributes 32.7 percent of the country’s GDP and employs 65 percent of its 110 million people,” the State Minister further cited.
AGRA has invested over $15.5 million, with a focus on enhanced private sector involvement in seed production and distribution. The program has built local capacity to train and mentor seed companies and strengthen local markets by increasing grain quality and reducing aflatoxin levels.
Founded in 2006, AGRA, formerly known as the Alliance for Green Revolution is an African-led African-based organization that seeks to catalyze agriculture transformation in Africa. AGRA is focused on putting smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. As the sector that employs the majority of Africa’s people, nearly all of them small-scale farmers, AGRA has recognized that developing smallholder agriculture into a productive, efficient, and sustainable system is essential to ensuring food security, lifting millions out of poverty, and driving equitable growth across the continent.

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