The Director General of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and his team of colleagues paid a one-day visit at EIAR on June 13, 2017 to discuss ways and means of strengthening the quarter-century old collaborations between the Center and the Institute on specific research areas. The DG and his counterparts were welcomed by Dr. Fentahun Mengistu, DG of EIAR who briefed the team on the role, status, progress, and achievements in the Ethiopian agriculture, specifically in agricultural research, and its contribution in the national effort to transform the agriculture-led economy into an industry-led one.

Dr. Fentahun explained to the team that along with the increasing population of the country and global challenges, such as climate change and recurrent outbreaks of diseases and pests affecting production and productivity nationwide, the Institute is currently exerting a concerted effort in areas of crop protection, agricultural mechanization, horticulture and biotechnology research as well as climate change impact mitigation technologies, among many other, to overcome such challenges. The Institute’s efforts toward filling the agricultural technology gaps for local industries and the impacts brought about by this particular effort, as well as the efforts in ensuring nutrition and food security, enhancing livelihoods and productivities in pastoral and agro-pastoral areas with a vast livestock resources, were also highlighted by the DG.

Dr. Fentahun also highlighted some challenges of the Institute in technology delivery, including capacity limitations in supplying early-generation seeds for seed multipliers and farmers, which he believed could be addressed through collaborative works. He said that while emergence of productive model farmers gives hope to the vast majority of smallholder farmers, a significant gaps still lingers between the productivity of the two, and that addressing such problems will have a huge impact in increasing production and productivity in the country.

Dr. Aly Abousabaa, Director General of ICARDA, acknowledge and expressed his content with being part of the growth and progress of the agriculture as well as the overall economy of the country, and expressed his belief that, in line with the fact that Ethiopian is a key platform with the Center, the two institutions’ collaborative efforts in common-interest commodities, especially in pulses, will be sustained and enhanced with essential research undertakings.

He said that the recent restructuring of ministries based on specific set of commodities would help provide tailored technical supports. Emphasizing that population growth may become a challenge of the future with its long-term impact of urbanization, the Center is willing to work on collaborative undertakings to ensuring food and nutrition security through impactful research efforts and handling of production/productivity challenges in crops such as faba bean, and by proactively addressing possible impacts of population growth in the country.