Ethiopia is on course to realising food security that has evaded most African countries.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalagne says the country is currently providing 10% of its annual budget to the agriculture sector, “we are registering 10% growth in agricultural gross domestic product annually as a result.”
The Prime Minister who is also the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) Champion urged African countries to implement the Malabo Declaration of 2014 on Africa Agriculture Transformation.
The Declaration has seven commitments which include; Recommitment to the Principles and Values of the CAADP Process; Commitment to Enhancing Investment Finance in Agriculture to 10% of annual budgetary allocation to agriculture; Commitment to Ending Hunger in Africa by 2025; Commitment to Halving Poverty, by the year 2025, through Inclusive Agricultural Growth and Transformation; Commitment to Boosting Intra-African Trade in Agricultural commodities and services; Commitment to Enhancing Resilience of Livelihoods and Production Systems to Climate Variability and other related risks and Commitment to Mutual Accountability to Actions and Results.
The Horn of Africa country has established the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) which is mandated to enhance the capacity of key stakeholders in achieving agricultural transformation.
In particular, the Agency strives to introduce new technologies and approaches that can address systemic bottlenecks and catalyze transformation of the sector. It also plays a catalytic role to support partners to effectively execute agreed upon solutions in a coordinated manner.
According to the Project Officer for the ATA Cooperative Based Seed Producers, Ashebir Demie, farmer primary co-cooperatives are currently engaged in the production of certified seed for the main staple and encouraging farmers to use improved seed.
“This has seen our country realize strides in agricultural productivity,” said the Ashebir and added, “adoption of use of improved seed has also seen an improvement.
Speaking during a media tour of the seed processing plant owned by Erer Farmers Cooperative Union in the Erer Oromia region of Ethiopia, Ashebir said through use of improved seed farmer productivity increases by 30%.
Community involvement and private partnerships in seed production and distribution, according to Ashebir is key, “We can not only rely on public seed distribution systems, however we ensure strict adherence to standards,” he notes.
The Cooperative Union that was established in 1998 is an umbrella union of 102 and brings together 66,134 members.
General Manager Akililu Metekia says the union purchases agricultural inputs for its members including primary seed which they sell to the union members who are primary seed producers.
“We market the product for members, provide credit facilities train our members as well as provide storage for the produce so as to have a long shelf life,” said Metekia.
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