ETHIOPIA – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched US$86.5 million projects aimed at bolstering Ethiopia’s agricultural sector and tackling malnutrition.

The first initiative, dubbed “Feed the Future Ethiopia Transforming Agriculture,” boasts a substantial investment of US$77 million over five years.

The project is poised to transform Ethiopia’s agriculture and food systems, with a particular focus on improving the diets of 7 million people, especially women and children. The targeted intervention covers 132 woredas across Ethiopia, emphasizing the critical role of nutrition in fostering community resilience.

Ethiopia Seed Systems: Empowering smallholders with quality seeds

Complementing the Transforming Agriculture endeavour is the “Feed the Future Ethiopia Seed Systems” project, backed by a US$9.5 million investment.

Over five years, this initiative aims to bolster the supply of quality-assured seeds in local markets, ensuring that smallholder farmers have access to premium seeds of their preferred crop varieties.

The project will be rolled out across 20 woredas spanning eight regions, fostering a conducive environment for agricultural productivity and economic growth.

Both projects underscore USAID’s commitment to fostering collaboration among various stakeholders in the agricultural sector.

By partnering with agribusinesses, universities, and other key players, these initiatives seek to build resilient, inclusive, and sustainable agricultural and food systems. This holistic approach not only addresses immediate challenges but also lays the groundwork for long-term prosperity and food security in Ethiopia.

As these initiatives gain momentum, stakeholders anticipate tangible outcomes such as increased agricultural productivity, improved nutritional outcomes, and enhanced economic opportunities for rural communities.

Robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms will be in place to track progress, measure impact, and fine-tune strategies for maximum effectiveness.

Boost in the processing industry

A standout feature of the Transforming Agriculture project is its Enset (false banana) processing machine production scaling-up initiative.

Known as the ‘tree against hunger’, enset feeds 20 million people across Ethiopia — over a sixth of the population. It not only provides food but also serves as a companion crop – plants that support a main crop by providing protection from pests and improving soil health – for coffee and sorghum.

Enset is also incredibly resilient; it can tolerate droughts far better than other staple crops.

This innovative approach is designed to empower Enset producers by enhancing yield, reducing food loss, and improving product quality.

By harnessing cutting-edge technology and sustainable practices, the project aims to create a more resilient and efficient agricultural ecosystem.

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