The Director General of ICARDA, Mr. Aly Abousabaa, visited ICARDA’s Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Program and Research Platform based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 12-15 June 2017 to get acquainted with on-going research activities and partnerships with NARS in Ethiopia and the region.
During his visit, accompanied by Dr Fentahun Mengistu, Director General of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), Mr. Abousabaa met with Dr Eyasu Abraha, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Professor Fekadu Beyene, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries to discuss ICARDA’s long-term partnerships and association with Ethiopian NARS.
During the meetings, the ministers highlighted Ethiopia’s commitment to transforming its agricultural sector, and the role agricultural research can play to support the country’s crop and livestock centers. The Ministers acknowledged ICARDA’s contribution to agricultural development efforts in the country and requested this support to be strengthened in the future.
Mr. Abousabaa presented ICARDA’s 10-year research strategy and its commitment to fostering partnerships that can help dryland countries achieve their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and tackle climate change. He also assured the ministers that ICARDA would continue to work closely with the Ethiopian government and assist in the implementation of its Growth Transformation Plan II (GTPII).
As a vehicle towards the realization of Ethiopia’s vision of becoming a lower middle-income country by 2025, GTPII is built on sectoral policies, strategies and programs, lessons drawn from the implementation of the first GTP, and the post-2015 SDGs. It has also taken into account global and regional economic situations with direct or indirect bearings on the Ethiopian economy.
The Director General also paid a courtesy visit to the USAID Mission in Ethiopia and met with Mr. Stephen Morin, Chief of the Office of Economic Growth and Transformation. USAID is a major donor supporting ICARDA’s core research for development agenda in Ethiopia and elsewhere in the region.
In Addis Ababa, Mr. Abousabaa had briefings with ICARDA scientific staff including Dr. Barbara Rischkowsky (Program Leader of Sustainable Intensification and Resilience Production Systems, SIRPS) and Dr. Zewdie Bishaw (Regional Coordinator and Head of Seed Section), and discussed on-going integrated crop-livestock research.
On 15 June, Mr. Abousabaa visited Debre Berhan Agricultural Research Center (DBARC) to see first-hand the progress and achievements of the Center’s livestock research and scaling up/out activities related to malt barley, faba bean and chickpea. The presentations were followed by field visits to small ruminant breeding and off-season seed multiplication and irrigation facilities.
Mr. Abousabaa also met with Dr. Moyo Siboniso, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Director General’s Representative in Ethiopia and heads of CGIAR centers operating in Ethiopia, and reiterated ICARDA’s commitment to partnering with CG centers and NARS.
In conclusion, a celebration of ICARDA’s 40th anniversary was held with ICARDA regional staff, heads of NARS, ILRI DG Representative and heads of CGIAR Centers.
ICARDA and Ethiopia have a long history of partnership and the regional program and the research platform will be used as spring board for ICARDA’s operation in sub-Saharan Africa. During 2010-2017, ICARDA implemented crop and livestock projects worth over US $10 million in Ethiopia alone. ICARDA’s Sub-Saharan Africa operation will be strengthened further with the incoming project ‘Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation,’ supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB).