Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Sustainable Intensification in the Ethiopian Highlands Agricultural Systems: Designing the Project

This story, written by Kara Brown, is cross-posted from ILRI's sustainable intensification project website. Buzz group and plenary feedback discussion Photo credit: ILRI/Liya Dejene

Around 60 experts are gathered this week at ILRI in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for a four-day project design workshop on an exciting new initiative that aims to transform the livelihoods of some of the poorest people in Ethiopia’s highlands. The project, which forms part of the US government’s ‘Feed the Future’ initiative, aims to transform agricultural systems via sustainable intensification.

The workshop provides a unique platform for a broad group of important stakeholders to learn more about the project plans and to share their views on expectations from and opportunities for synergies with the project. The diverse mix of participants, including research specialists, academics, economists, NGO workers and government representatives, contribute different perspectives to the discussion, enriching the planning process.

Four speakers, Robert Bertram of USAID, Adefirs Teklewold of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Shirley Tarawali of ILRI, and Edmealem Shitaye of the Ministry of Agriculture kicked off the first session, introducing the new project and outlining its projected actions and outcomes. Robert highlighted the fact that in designing the project, there is no need to start from scratch, thanks to a tremendous amount of existing knowledge in this area. Shirley elaborated by saying,

“Our task, and one which we hope this project will make a real contribution to, is to bring together not only the best that research can offer – be that crop, animal, environmental, economic, social – but to make sure this intersects with major agricultural development efforts that can ensure science gets translated into livelihood impacts”.

A light, interactive, discussion on the importance of sustainable intensification followed, with everyone in agreement that, while it may not be the only solution to the problems faced by struggling farming communities in this part of the world, intensification is nonetheless a valuable and necessary part of the bigger picture.

Visit the ILRI's sustainable intensification project website to read the full story.