January 28, 2011 11:25 ET

Canada Announces Project to Enhance Agricultural Development in Ethiopia

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 28, 2011) - Deepak Obhrai, Canada's Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation announced today that Canada is supporting Ethiopia's agricultural sector and the country's goal of increased food security. 

Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency, is supporting the Agricultural Growth Program, a major national initiative aimed at helping farmers become more productive and better linked to local and regional markets. 

"One of the greatest needs in Ethiopia's agricultural sector is to increase investment in areas where there is high potential for agricultural growth," said Mr. Obhrai, "Canada is proud to be working with the World Bank and other donors to support Ethiopia's Agricultural Growth Program. Well-targeted investments in areas such as rural infrastructure and stronger linkages to markets can help to transform subsistence farmers into commercial producers."

The Agricultural Growth Program focuses on helping smallholder farmers in 83 districts to cultivate food and deliver their products to market. CIDA's funding of $18.75 million over five years will benefit an estimated 126,000 households, of which 9,000 are headed by women. Activities will include strengthening organizations that support farmers, and supply systems for seed and livestock breeds, the development of rural infrastructure, and the implementation of better soil and water conservation practices.

Agriculture is the dominant sector of the Ethiopian economy, contributing about 45 percent to the gross domestic product and representing almost 90 percent of exports and 85 percent of employment. While the annual agricultural sector growth rate has averaged 10 percent since 1997, there is still significant potential for improvement. The Agricultural Growth Program will channel investments in rural infrastructure and agricultural services to help smallholder farmers become more productive and better linked to agricultural markets in these high potential areas. 


Canada helping Ethiopia enhance agricultural development 

CIDA is contributing to the Agricultural Growth Program in Ethiopia, which is also being supported by a number of donors such as the World Bank, USAID, and Spain.

CIDA funding of $18.75 million over five years will help increase agricultural productivity and market access for key crops and livestock in Ethiopia.

The Program will focus on 2,108 communities. There will be a special emphasis on women and youth in 83 districts with high potential for agricultural growth in four regions : Amhara; Oromiya; Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region; and Tigray.

The Agricultural Growth Program will:

  • support a range of activities designed to strengthen organizations that support farmers, and supply systems for key inputs such as seeds and livestock breeds;
  • improve rural infrastructure, including small-scale irrigation, rural markets, feeder roads, and soil and water conservation practices;
  • support the increased use of best practices and help to promote market and agribusiness development;
  • contribute to an expected increase of 10 percent in agricultural productivity for high-value crop and livestock products; and
  • provide training in innovative farming and marketing practices to 126,000 households, of which 9,000 are headed by women and 31,500, by youth.

Agriculture is the most important sector of Ethiopia's economy. More than 80 percent of Ethiopians live in rural areas, and the main source of income is agriculture. The agricultural sector accounts for about 45 percent of gross domestic product, almost 90 percent of exports, and 85 percent of employment.

In addition to increasing agricultural growth, the Agricultural Growth Program will also promote rural diversification by creating jobs and stimulating small businesses. High agricultural growth tends to generate demand for farm labour and non-agricultural products and services, which may help poor households that do not participate directly in the program.

The project will also help to increase the resilience of farmers to climate change through investments in watershed management and small-scale water management and irrigation systems, based on local communities' priorities. These investments will significantly reduce variability in agricultural production and enable smallholder farmers to take advantage of new and more profitable opportunities in Ethiopia.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Justin Broekema
    Press Secretary
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office