Sunday, June 16, 2024

Ethiopia’s agricultural sector struggles without technological innovations

By Eyasu Zekarias, Photo by Anteneh Aklilu


Ethiopia’s agricultural sector, which forms the backbone of the country’s economy, is severely lagging behind in the adoption of modern technologies and innovations, threatening the nation’s ability to feed its growing population, experts have warned.

According to Dr. Bayissa Bedada, the State Minister of Innovation and Technology, the lack of a “culture of innovation and new technologies” in Ethiopia’s agricultural practices has made it “impossible to increase yields, increase agricultural productivity and ensure food security.”

“We still understand that if our economy, especially the agricultural sector, is not supported by technology and innovations, we will not be able to feed many of our people,” Dr. Bayissa stated.

Over 60% of Ethiopia’s exports come from the agricultural sector, underscoring its critical importance to the national economy. However, the reliance on low-tech, traditional farming methods has hindered the sector’s ability to meet the growing demand for food.

To address this challenge, the first African Biotechnology Congress was recently held in Addis Ababa, bringing together researchers, academics, policymakers, and stakeholders from across the continent and around the world.

The four-day conference, organized by the Ethiopian Society of Biotechnology (ESoB) and the Ethiopian Bio and Emerging Technology Institute (BETin), aimed to create a forum for discussions on the transformative potential of biotechnology to tackle Africa’s critical agricultural challenges.

“Without developing a culture of innovation and new technologies, we cannot solve complex challenges and open up new opportunities for our younger generations across Africa,” Dr. Bayissa emphasized.

The gathering in Addis Ababa, the seat of numerous international institutions, underscores the city’s ambition to become a hub for technology, science, and innovation on the continent.

Experts believe that by embracing modern agricultural practices and technologies, such as biotechnology, Ethiopia can unlock new opportunities to boost productivity, enhance food security, and support the broader economic development of the country.

As Ethiopia’s agricultural sector continues to grapple with the limitations of traditional farming methods, the successful integration of technological innovations will be crucial in determining the nation’s ability to feed its growing population in the years to come.

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