EIAR and AGRA Launch New Breeding Initiative to Increase Productivity of Key Grain Crops in Ethiopia

Three-year initiative will boost household food security and incomes through introduction of high-yielding varieties in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, July 29, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Today, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) (http://www.agra.org) and the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research (EIAR) are launching a new breeding program for five Ethiopian grain crops. The initiative – ‘Seed System Enhancement through Development of Improved Varieties of Maize, Tef, Sorghum, Soybean and Faba bean in Ethiopia’ – which will run for three years will make a significant contribution to enhance household food security and incomes.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution (AGRA) will invest over US$ 1 million to reach directly and indirectly more than 200,000 smallholder farmers in Ethiopia.

The majority of Ethiopians rely on these key grain crops for their calorie and protein intake, but yields are currently low. This initiative will help to improve the food security situation through developing and deploying more than 10 improved crop varieties better than varieties on farmers hand and previously released and promoting these among farmers. The initiative will also build capacity among researchers, extension agents, and public-private seed companies, and enhance the linkages between all the seed value chain players of target crops.

The initiative will be implemented through various EIAR research hubs/centers at Bako, Debre Zeit, Melkasa, Kulumsa and Pawe.

Dr. Adeferis Teklewolde, Crop Research Director at EIAR says: “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.”

Joe DeVries, Director for AGRA’s Program for African seed Systems (PASS) which oversees the program, says: “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.”

For more information, please visit www.agra.org or contact:


About the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

AGRA is a dynamic partnership working across the African continent to help millions of small-scale farmers and their families lift themselves out of poverty and hunger. AGRA programs develop practical solutions to significantly boost farm productivity and incomes for the poor while safeguarding the environment. AGRA advocates for policies that support its work across all key aspects of the African agricultural value chain from seeds, soil health and water to markets and agricultural education.

AGRA’s Board of Directors is chaired by Kofi A Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations. Ms. Jane Karuku, is AGRA’s president. With support from The Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK’s Department for International Development and other donors, AGRA works across sub-Saharan Africa and maintains offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and Accra, Ghana

About Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR)

The Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research is one of the oldest and largest agricultural research institutes in Africa. EIAR was established in 1966 by Proclamation. It was then called Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR).

EIAR has four national core mandates

Multiplication of agricultural technologies availing improved agricultural technologies

Popularization (pre scaling up) of improved agricultural technologies

Coordination of the National Agricultural Research System

EIAR has made tremendous efforts to build the national capacity of doing agricultural research, produce, and introduce improved technologies, focusing on fostering agricultural growth and development in the country. As a result, over the last four decades, the release of improved technologies in crops, livestock, soils and water, forestry and agricultural mechanization has dramatically increased. To date, the contribution of improved agricultural technologies generated and introduced by EIAR has become an engine in the national economy.

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