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An organization that works to improve productivity and raise the incomes of farmers in Africa is investing more than a million dollars in a seed-breeding program for five grain crops in Ethiopia.
Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is aiming to help more than 200,000 smallholder farmers in the country through its initiative ‘Seed System Enhancement through Development of Improved Varieties of Maize, Teff, Sorghum, Soybean and Fava Bean in Ethiopia’.
“Ethiopian farmers face a number of constraints, such as drought, diseases and insect pests that, combined together, greatly lower their yields. This initiative will introduce crop varieties that can better withstand these constraints, thereby contributing to improved food security in Ethiopia,” said Adefris Teklewolde, Crop Research Director at the Ethiopian Institute for Agriculture Research (EIAR) at a launch event that was held this past week.
The initiative aims to improve food security through the development and deployment of more than 10 improved crop varieties.
AGRA says the majority of Ethiopians rely on these crops for their protein intake, but yields are currently low, leading to the need for such programs.
“AGRA is pleased to have this opportunity to work with the Ethiopian government to tackle a key bottleneck to farmers’ productivity. Through this collaboration, 20 tons of breeder and foundation seeds, the basic seed multiplied and sold to farmers, will be availed to seed enterprises annually,” said Joe De Vries, Director for AGRA’s Program for African Seed Systems (PASS) which oversees the program.
The initiative also aims to build capacity of researchers, extension workers and public-private seed companies, as well as enhancing links between farmers and seed companies.
It is being implemented through EIAR research centers at Bako, Debre Zeit, Melkasa, Kulumsa and Pawe.
AGRA is an Africa-based organization working in partnership with governments, agricultural research organizations, farmers, private sector, civil society and other rural development stakeholders to significantly and sustainably improve the productivity and incomes of resource low-income farmers in Africa.