10 January 2018

Ethiopia's Agriculture On Move - ATA

Photo: Tami Hultman/AllAfrica
One of the many construction sites in Addis Ababa reflecting the capital city's rapid economic growth and population rise.

Ethiopia's agriculture, which is still at the early stage in using modern farming technologies, is moving forward and its transformation is well in progress, Agricultural Transformation Agency, (ATA) says.

Ethiopia is in a good shape to transform its traditional and subsistence agriculture to a mechanized and commercial one and the farmers have shown motivation and eagerness for more technology and market linkages, Agency CEO Khalid Bomba tells The Ethiopian Herald.

The CEO says that the country is in momentum of transition from small-scale subsistence farming; low out-put production system for only family consumption into market oriented type.

Stressing the importance to keep up with the farmers' demand for technology and market linkages, Khalid notes that this business oriented mentality encourages them to engage in agro-processing activities thereby benefit both country's agricultural and industrial sectors.

According to him, Ethiopia's agricultural transformation is the major factor in attracting world's flagship agricultural companies to invest in the country.

"Realizing country's agricultural transformation, a lot of giant companies have shown a growing desire to involve in the sector. The companies want to be part of the transformation and to see how they can contribute and also benefit."

The CEO says necessary steps should be undertaken not only to facilitate ways for the benefit of the international companies, but also to create means for the smallholder farmers benefit from the opportunity created by those companies.

Khalid notes that the Ethiopian government carried out successful works to withstand the impacts of climate change and improve country's soil fertility, which in return led to enhance production and productivity.

In terms of climate change, he indicates that Ethiopia understands the challenge is an economy wide issue and has given special consideration, "Now the government of Ethiopia has prioritized a climate resilient green economy, a green perspective for growth as its primary vision for development."

In addition to dealing the climate change under the framework of a Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE), Ethiopia also strives to increase production and productivity.

The CEO says the farmers have been provided information about the right types of agro- economic practices and technologies that help them to withstand climatic challenges.

"The Agency, along with the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has been engaging for the past seven years in fertilizer blending activities to replace the importation of the long-serving fertilizers suitable for each soil type thereby improving fertility of the soil."

As part of this initiative, various fertilizer blending facilities, owned and operated by farmers' cooperative unions, are being constructed across the country.

Alongside replacing the imported Urea and DAP, the facilities also provide fertilizers for farmers and serve as a source of revenue for unions, Khalid notes.

Established some seven years ago, Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) is primarily engaged in improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and transforming the country's traditional subsistence farming to a modern and commercialized one.

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