Mainstreaming Agro-biodiversity into the Agricultural Production System of Ethiopia
What is the project about
The Mainstreaming Agro-biodiversity into the Agricultural Production System of Ethiopia is designed to address local circumstances, interlocking interventions to improve governance over farming systems with market based approaches, ensuring that biodiversity management needs are factored in.
The project seeks to create four in situ gene banks covering a total of 500,000 hectares to protect the wild gene pools for coffee, enset, teff and durum wheat through four pilot sites.
Lessons learnt at the pilot sites will be widely disseminated across the regions and up to the federal level. This will assist in scaling up the approaches used at the pilot sites and further mainstreaming agro-biodiversity conservation into the national agricultural systems.
What have we accomplished so far
The intervention has helped Ethiopia create an enabling policy and institutional framework, particularly, but not limited to garnering support for in situ conservation.
So far seven sectoral polices have been reviewed (biodiversity, agriculture, environment, forest, trade, industry and investment), with overlaps and gaps among institutions identified. Based on the recommendation of the review the lack of a comprehensive biodiversity structure from the federal to the community level was addressed through the establishment of eight biodiversity centres across the country.
Four target communities in Amhara, Oromia, and SNNP were helped to introduce bylaws that focused on managing natural resources in an integrated manner. Through the implementation of these bylaws, previously lost flora and fauna started being rehabilitated.
A new marketing strategy is providing an incentive for farmers to keep producing farmers variety crops and get better prices for the farmers variety crops for Teff, Durum Wheat, Forest Coffee and Enset (including its fiber).
Farmers are getting better prices for their coffee after certification and teff, specifically Minjar-shenkora tef, following the branding around this crop and linkages to global market access.
Four in situ gene banks covering a total of 500,000 hectares were successfully created to protect the wild gene pools for coffee, enset, teff and durum wheat in four pilot sites.
The introduction of four extension packages (Teff, Enset, Durum wheat and forest coffee) has revealed that farmers varieties have unlocked potential even more than improved varieties.
Eight farmers’ cooperatives have been established and strengthened in the project sites. These cooperatives are unique in their approach, focusing on empowering poor female headed households, by waving away the membership fees (members join by providing seeds). Improved processing machines are also provided to women involved in inset fiber processing, a task that is labour intensive and traditionally done by women only. Women were also supported to access additional income through selling the fiber to local sack manufactures.
Who Finances it?
Financing for this project is provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).