FAO has announced plans to launch a network of in-country innovation hubs in Ethiopia, established by FAO and Ethiopia’s agricultural institutions, to support farmers and value chain actors.
The network of in-country innovation hubs is a subprogram on Global Network of Digital Agriculture Innovation Hubs, funded by the Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism (FMM). The subprogram aims to accelerate the development of digital innovation in the agri-food sector. The subprogram focuses especially on youth and women, and seeks to increase their skills and competitiveness, FAO related.
FAO further said country teams are scoping the state of each country’s digital development and capacities of partners, such as government institutions, academia, NGOs, and the private sector. Similar hubs will also be set up in Dominica, Grenada, and Morocco.
Ethiopia’s economy is dependent on agriculture, which accounts for 40% of the GDP, 80% of exports, and an estimated 75% of the country’s workforce. However, just five percent of land is irrigated and crop yields from small farms are below regional averages. Market linkages are weak, and the use of improved seeds, fertilizers and pesticides remains limited. Despite these challenges, agriculture-led economic growth that is linked to improved livelihoods and nutrition can become a long-lasting solution to Ethiopia’s chronic poverty and food insecurity.
Principal crops include coffee, pulses (e.g., beans), oil seeds, cereals, potatoes, sugarcane, and vegetables. Exports are almost entirely agricultural commodities, and coffee is the largest foreign exchange earner. Ethiopia is also Africa’s second biggest maize produce.