It was wonderful to gain an overview of the progress being made, and the challenges faced in agriculture, from a wide range of partners in Ethiopia last week.
The Honorable State Minister for Agriculture, Dr Wondirad Mandefro, met with myself and ICRISAT Governing Board Chair, Dr Chandra Madramootoo.
He explained that while Ethiopia has made significant progress in the production and productivity of agriculture, the drylands are lagging behind and their development is extremely important for future food security of the country.
The Minister also highlighted the achievement of the nationwide campaign on the adoption of balanced fertilizer application based on soil testing. Within one year, by training 25 extension officers per woreda (district), each of them in turn worked with five progressive farmers to scaling up this technology to cover large areas within one year of operation. Impressive!
The Minister emphasized the need for strengthening market linkages. Markets should not be created after production but need to be considered early during the interventions. He appreciated the value chain approach that ICRISAT is adopting in preparing the country strategy.
Ethiopia has also made massive investments in infrastructure which is an important first step in creating sustainable market opportunities to smallholder farmers.
The Minister welcomed the opening of ICRISAT office in Ethiopia, saying it is an important first step, but he added that strengthening our program to meet the national needs is the next important step.
He agreed to send a delegation to India to get a first-hand view of the collaboration that ICRISAT has with various state governments and possibly accompany the team
I very much look forward to welcoming them to India.
Read more about my recent visit to Ethiopia and the ICRISAT’s Governing Board meeting in this Happenings newsletter