ICARDA Ethiopia Country Office established in 2008
Country manager: Zewdie Bishaw
ICARDA’s work in Ethiopia is made possible through the support of USAID, AfDB, ADA, IFAD, ACIAR, BMZ/GIZ. The key research for development partners includes the federal Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research and Regional agricultural Research Institutes (ARARI, OARI, SARI and TARI) and development partners such federal Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Bureaus of Agriculture (region to district level), federal and regional public seed enterprises (ESE, ASE, OSE, SSE) and seed producer cooperatives, CGIAR Research Program onWheat, CIMMYT,CGIAR Livestock, ILRI, IITA, GCDT, ICRAF, GMOFA, SLU, CIAT, and UWA.
Agriculture accounts for almost half of Ethiopia’s GDP, 60% of its export earnings and 80% of total employment, making sustainable improvements in agriculture vital to significantly advancing the country’s economic development.
Partnerships between Ethiopian agricultural research centers and ICARDA began in 1978, soon after ICARDA’s establishment. In 1985, Ethiopia formally joined a regional research program coordinated by ICARDA, which focused on the Nile basin before expanding to several countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Collaborative research is implemented through regional and bilateral programs on biodiversity conservation, new varieties of food legumes, barley, wheat, the development of seed systems, water and land management, livestock, and capacity development.
Ethiopian scientists play a key role in ICARDA’s regional program with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) – a lead federal institute within research networks on wilt and root rot diseases in legumes and stem rust disease in wheat. Ethiopian scientists also help generate international public goods used across the globe, such as biotic stress-resistant varieties like rust-resistant wheat varieties, wilt-resistant lentil varieties and Asochcyta Blight-resistant Kabuli chickpea varieties.
Conserving biodiversity by protecting, documenting and utilizing Ethiopia’s vast pool of genetic resources.
The Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) Wheat Compact Project, which aims to strengthen production capacity and seed systems, and disseminate improved climate-resilient wheat varieties in cotton-based production systems in irrigated lowlands. Simultaneously, the project is introducing innovative production technologies and integrated crop management practices to increase agricultural productivity of staple crops.
Barley research: several barley elite lines were tested in different environments, and new improved varieties were released for cultivation, particularly malting barley varieties (e.g. Miscal (Kiflu-B), IBON 174/03, HB1963, HB 1964).
Development of ICARDA cool-season food legume (Kabuli chickpea, faba bean, lentil and grass pea) varieties with high yields and resistance to key diseases.
Introducing participator plant breeding methods where farmers are genuine research partners, making decisions on germplasm selection, even on design and trial implementation.
An EIAR-ICARDA breeding program that aims to halt a potential pandemic due to wheat stem rust disease by providing emergency replacements for susceptible varieties, while developing new varieties with durable resistance.
Producing high-yielding Kabuli chickpea varieties that are resistant to multiple diseases, suitable for early planting and offer higher yields and better prices for farmers.
Improving local livestock breeds through community-based breeding programs in which farmers themselves decide the breeding objectives, strategies, and institutional structures.
Development of watershed project technology components, including improved varieties and water management methods, as well as more efficient, sustainable use of natural resources.
Equipping unemployed Ethiopian youth with an innovative package of sheep-fattening practices and technologies to improve their income and access to markets.
Capacity development programs to strengthen the skills of researchers, extension staff and farmers through a variety of training programs, including some held by postgraduate students.
Field experimentation (in a randomized control trial setting) to enable the design of alternative agricultural extension and input service delivery systems that are efficient in enhancing the adoption of agricultural technologies.