WUR is going to coordinate a new programme aiming to bolster agriculture in vulnerable regions of Ethiopia. This programme, Realise, has been allocated a budget of eight million euros for four years.
© Albert Sikkema
Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation (CDI), working with Wageningen Environmental Research, is already leading several programmes in food-secure regions in Ethiopia. The Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs is impressed by these programmes and wants WUR to strengthen the agriculture sector in food-insecure regions too, with improved seed and production conditions.
In recent years, Foreign Affairs has co-financed the international Productive Safety Net Programme in vulnerable Ethiopian regions. Households without sufficient food and income receive money from this programme in exchange for work. Now, however, the ministry wants to change tack in its participation in this programme, and that is where the new Realise programme comes in. In that programme, WUR aims to improve the livelihood security of poor farmers through agricultural knowledge.
The Dutch government also wants Wageningen to take on a bigger role in agricultural policymaking in Ethiopia. The WUR programmes are asked to collaborate more with the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), an Ethiopian government organ that was brought into existence alongside the ministry of Agriculture to solve system-related problems in the food supply chain. The Netherlands is a donor to ATA, along with the Gates Foundation and Denmark. WUR’s practical knowledge is rooted in five Ethiopian regions, but it should also be used to reinforce Ethiopia’s national food policy, says Jan Willem Nibbering, food security specialist at the Dutch embassy in Addis Ababa. Currently, WUR runs the Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) programme in Ethiopia, which aims to improve the seed sector in the country, and the Cascape project, which identifies best practices with which farmers can raise their production and incomes.