Ethiopia enjoys extremely varied climatic conditions — from cool to very cold in the highlands, to one of the hottest places on earth at the Dallol Depression. Accounting for 47% of the GDP, agriculture is the backbone of Ethiopia’s economy. 85% of Ethiopians live in rural areas and depend on agriculture. Coffee, cereals, pulses and oilseeds are the major crops of the country.
Ethiopia is a highly populated country in the region and its population hit 115 million as of 2020
Within the past decades, the country’s economic growth averaged 10.9% per year since 2004 with 8.3% as annual per capita growth (Neglo et al., 2021). This performance positioned Ethiopia amongst the world’s rapidly developing economies (Paul et al, 2016).
Agriculture is the dominant sector in the Ethiopian economy.
About 78% are rural dwellers mainly dependent on agriculture and 56.5% of the total population is at the age of 15-64 (World Bank, 2021).
Small holder farmers account for close to 95 percent of total crop production and more than 64 percent of them produce their crops on less than one hectare of land.
The agriculture sector in Ethiopia represents about 33% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 80% of exports, and about 75% of the labor force (USAID, 2021).
Livestock accounted for about nine percent of the GDP in 2017/18.
Growth in agricultural value and total farm factor productivity in Ethiopia accounts for 8.35% and 2.68%, respectively.
Some of the major constraints in the agriculture sector revolve around land use and administration system, access to high-quality inputs and finance, efficient market systems, and research and extension services.
Land fragmentation is a challenge that hinders smallholder farmers from graduating into medium and large farms.
Ministry of Agriculture (Ethiopia)
Website available in English
The present day Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) was established in 1907during the reign of emperor Menelik II. More than a century has been elapsed since agriculture was transformed in to an institution. During the last successive regimes, some measures have been taken to improve the Agricultural sector.
Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR)
Website available in English and Amharic
The Ethiopian Agricultural Research is one of the oldest and largest agricultural research system in Africa. Ethiopian Agricultural Research System (EARS) has evolved through several stages since its first initiation during the late 1940s, following the establishment of agricultural and technical schools at Ambo and Jimma. In 1955, a full-fledged agricultural experiment station was established at Debre Zeit (now named Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Center) under the then Imperial College of Agricultural and mechanical Arts (now called Haramaya University) and had been continued as the major research entity until the mid-1960s. In 1966, Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) was established as the first nationally coordinated agricultural research system in Ethiopia. Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) was established with a mission to formulate national agricultural research guidelines, coordinate National Agricultural Research System, and undertake research in its centers and sub-centers located in various agroecological zones of Ethiopia.
Oromia Agricultural Research Institute (OARI)
Website available in English
OARI was established after agricultural research in the country was decentralized following the federal governance system in Ethiopia. It is a public research institute, which gets its budget form the Oromia Regional Government. Two agricultural research centers have conducted plant breeding research for 11 years. No biotechnology research is carried out by OARI.