Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Israel to share its agricultural expertise

Israel is ready to share its agricultural know how and technology in the area of agricultural research, agricultural extension, irrigation, poultry, livestock, and so forth with Ethiopia says an Israeli minister who visited Ethiopia for three days from June 15 to 17, 2012.   
“I feel very committed to share the thing we were talking [Israeli agricultural expertise] with Ethiopia because it very important to us,” said Orit Noked, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of the State of Israel. 
The minister has met Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hailemariam Desalegn, and her Ethiopian counterpart, Tefera Deribew, Minister of Agriculture, during her stay in Addis. They agreed to form a technical committee which can identify areas of common interest to further boost the bilateral cooperation between the two countries in relation to agricultural development. She has also discussed with the two Ethiopian ministers how to strengthen public-private partnerships in the area of agricultural trade.    
The minister visited Butajira Fruit Nursery and Training Center technically supported by the Israeli International Development Cooperation (MASHAV).
The nursery has imported six different species of avocado trees from Israel. Supported by Israeli technology and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), it has begun to revolutionize avocado species in Ethiopia.
The 2.5 hectare nursery and training center; located in the Southern Nations Nationality and Peoples’ (SNNP) Regional State, some 200 kilometers to the south west of Addis Ababa was established three years ago. It has been blending the imported trees with local ones to produce short trees, bearing uniform fruit that takes only three years to harvest. This is a dramatic improvement over the taller, inconsistent, variety which could take up to seven years to bear fruit.
The new variety is also disease resistant and once it begins producing, the tree will provide more fruit every year for around 40 years. Apart from SNNP, the Israeli approach is being duplicated in Amhara, Oromiya, and Tigray regional states.
Three weeks ago prior to the minister’s visit, MASHAV, Ministry of Agriculture and USAID, has launched the Smallholder Horticulture Program. The joint technical cooperation program aims to promote economic growth in rural areas by strengthening smallholder farmers’ production of fruits and vegetables with recognized market potential. The program seeks to empower smallholder farmers to develop a competitive and sustainable horticulture sector that will tap into new market opportunities. The program will provide technical and financial support to disseminate technologies that will help increase productivity and quality standards for a better product and hence profit.
MASHAV is one of world’s oldest humanitarian agencies engaged in the area of agriculture. It has projects in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and South America.