Ethiopia: Modern Technology for Improved Agriculture Productivity

It is crystal clear that agriculture underpins the economy. The sector is the major contributor to the national economy. It is also a source of livelihood for millions. This is specially true for those rural communities that have no access to education.

What is more, the sector is serving as a springboard for other economic sectors. On the path towards industrialization, the agriculture sector is serving as a stimulus to the various manufacturing industries that operate in the country.

Seeing its multidimensional benefits, the government has given a special attention to the sector. Supporting the activities of farmers and pastorialsts is one of the area of intervention. Promoting the activities of research institutes and scientists is the other area where government intervention is palpable.

It is known that the success or failure of agricultural productivity is dependent on the type of technology that particular country applies. In a modern and well developed economic systems agricultural production and productivity is higher. At the same time in places where agricultural inputs and the use of technological innovation is poor agricultural productivity is also very low. Recurrent drought is obvious. In this regard the research institutions have a vital role in introducing new agricultural technologies. The role of these institutions is not confined to university or institution level. They have a direct impact on the overall life of the country.

In this regard EIAR (Ethiopian Institute of Agriculture Research) is one of the institutions highly engaged in supporting the agricultural sector by introducing several agricultural products to the sector.

The Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research is one of the oldest and largest agricultural institutes in Africa. EIAR was established in 1966 and was then called Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR). In 1997 it was designated the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization (EARO). At the moment the institute goes by Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR).

Starting from its inception EIAR has been contributing a tremendous effort to build the national capacity of conducting agricultural researches, producing and introducing improved technologies as well as focusing on fostering agricultural growth and development in the country.

Over the last four decades the release of improved technologies in crops, livestock, soils and water, forestry and agricultural mechanization has dramatically increased. The contribution of improved agricultural technologies generated and introduced by EIAR and its partners has become an engine in the national agricultural productivity gains in the economy.

The Institute is now celebrating its 50th anniversary. Using the institute as a centre of excellence and its researchers as an engine, the EIAR is working unceasingly to narrow down the gap in the agricultural sector.

Using its experts as an engine the Institute is conducting agricultural research activities that will provide market competitive agricultural technologies, which will contribute to increased agricultural productivity and nutrition quality, sustainable food security, economic development. It as well works towards the conservation of natural resources and the environment.

As an apex body, EIAR provides strong leadership in coordinating research within the Ethiopian Agricultural Research System (EARS), by taking a leading role in influencing agricultural policy development.

We are found at a the time when the country is beset by El Nino-induced drought that affected millions of people. Due to the traditional agricultural system and the global climate change crop failure is threatening the life of millions.

History tells us that Ethiopia is one of the early civilizations that started farming thousands of years ago. However, despite the fact that there are several positive and encouraging economic growth in the country drought is still affecting the image of the country and food security still seems under a question mark.

The country has aspired to achieve middle level income countries. It has mobilized its natural as well as its human resources for positive change. The agricultural sector is given priority in this regard. The presence of agriculture research institutions that support the sector is a foundation to bring a sustainable change in the sector. This is specially true in assuring food security through coming up with drought resistant crop varieties.

In this regard a laudatory remark is due to the role that has been played by EIAR. For over decades the Institute has been supporting the agriculture sector in various ways. It has registered a remarkable achievement by introducing various improved crop varieties.

As it is indicated by Institute Director General Fantahun Mengistu, over the past 50 years, the agricultural research system has made an impressing progress by delivering more than 3000 technologies and management practices, and more than 1000 improved crop varieties, among others. What is more, teaming up with other stakeholders EIAR has brought the Ethiopian agriculture to its current height — an agriculture that is registering remarkable success and rendering citizens and the nation proud. EIAR has flickered a ray of hope that the country can prosper with agricultural development as entry point.

The eventual growth of EIAR is beyond any shadow of doubt. Adapting to the needs of agricultural development it has come to the level of its today’s adulthood posture. It has become a hub of agricultural research in Ethiopia and is one of the best robustly performing establishments in Africa.

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