Trees for Food Security project launched in Ethiopia
The Ethiopian government has welcomed a new initiative that will harness the benefits of agroforestry in the country and throughout eastern Africa. Minister of State H.E. Sileshi Getahun joined scientists from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), and local and international partners, to inaugurate the Trees for Food Security project in Addis Ababa, on 6 August 2012. He said the project will dovetail with and complement Ethiopia’s food security, poverty reduction, and environmental management and restoration strategies.
The four-year, four-country action research project coordinated by the World Agroforestry Centre will be carried out in Ethiopia and Rwanda in its first two years, and expand to Burundi and Uganda starting 2014. Funded largely by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the project will be implemented by a multidisciplinary partnership of institutions, including three CGIAR Consortium Research Centres (World Agroforestry Centre, CIMMYT and ILRI), CSIRO, World Vision, and partner-country national agricultural research centres and universities.
Ethiopia has a landmass more than a million square kilometers and is Africa’s second-most populous country. H.E. Sileshi Getahun pointed out that food security and the wellbeing of people in the country are intimately linked to agriculture and the use of natural resources. He expressed confidence that the new project would allow Ethiopia to tap into relevant knowledge and experience from three decades of research by the World Agroforestry Centre and partners: “We are sure that ICRAF can identify and test several technologies and scale up best-fit options, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and other partners.”
In Ethiopia, project researchers will work with farmers in the sub-humid Bako and semi-arid Melkasa regions to promote and study the agroforestry options that work for them, to produce the best gains in crop productivity while assuring long-term environmental resilience. The project will also look at the types of tree seed and seedling systems and associated extension approaches that work best forscaling up, in close partnership with the Ethiopian government’s wellestablished agricultural extension system. The project also has strong market linkages and capacity strengthening components.
“The right trees at the right place can restore soil and environmental health, dramatically increase crop yields, generate income, balance diets and make communities more resilient to changing weather patterns,” said Dr. Solomon Assefa, the Director General of EIAR, the project’s main partner in Ethiopia. Mr. Tony Bartlett, representing ACIAR at the workshop, called the project “a perfect candidate” for funding under the Food Security Centre of ACIAR. “Not only is there good research already done by the World Agroforestry Centre, but it is clear that there will be good links to adoption. With a bit more research on how the trees can increase crop yields, we are likely to significantly increase adoption of agroforestry within the project’s timeframe,” he said.The Trees for Food Security project, combined with Ethiopia’s own bold greening initiatives, will contribute to the long-term food security and wellbeing in this historic, culturally rich country of dramatic landscapes that is home to 85 million people.
At the Durban Climate Change Convention in December 2011, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi announced the Faidherbia programme—a government initiative will establish 100 million Faidherbia albida trees on smallholder cereal croplands across the country within the next three years in order to improve the food production and livelihoods of smallholder farmers. The government also plans to reforest 15 million hectares of land, including the regeneration of tree cover on croplands.May Prime Minister Meles’s vision of an agriculturally productive, economically strong, and environmentally robust Ethiopia live on.
Link to project website: http://worldagroforestry.org/project/aciar
Revitalizing Agroforestry R4D for Improved Food Security and Environmental Resilience in Ethiopia
Follow project on twitter @icraf#treesforfoodsecurity
Link to Rwanda Story: Building on Strength: Trees for Food Security project launched in Rwanda
Trees for Food Security: new project launch in Africa http://aciar.gov.au/node/14729