80% of the population in Ethiopia is employed by agriculture sector and around 47% of the GDP is attributed to Agriculture. Because the context in the sector is changing significantly and quickly, policy makers need move at the same speed. Among the several changes observed, agricultural value chains are growing complex.
Key actors, including commercial farmers, processors, traders, exporters, bankers, investment brokers and others become abundantly prevalent. Research and Development actors in Ethiopia have to make a shift from restricting their interactions only with smallholder farmers (conventional approach) to working with all value chain actors systematically, aiming at creating enabling environment for all, but also developing the capacity of the smallholder farmers to become successful in the complex value chain interactions.
With the support of the EU; FAO and AGRINATURA, iCRA and EIAR have partnered to develop the functional capacity of actors in Agriculture with the ultimate goal to make Agricultural Innovation Systems more efficient and sustainable in meeting the diverse demands of all actors. Five innovation partnerships/niches have been selected by the project. These include the Chickpea Production and Marketing (Amhara- Gonder), Malt Barely production and Marketing (Oromia Arsi), Community seed production and marketing (SNNPR-Butajira), Feed safety and quality (Addis Ababa-National), Milk Demand Stimulation (Addis Ababa- National).
In the spirit of developing functional capacity - need assessments, developing coaching plans and implementation of niche activities were the key interventions. CDAIS also provided supports for three organizations (EIAR, MoA and Self Help Africa), which provide innovative support services to their clients.