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Using innovation potential: Food and agriculture in Ethiopia

Creating the framework conditions for the production of high-quality, competitive products is a major challenge for the agricultural and food sectors in Ethiopia. Quality infrastructure significantly contributes to managing this task and makes it possible to better tap the potential contribution of the agricultural and food sectors, especially in rural areas. This challenge was the motivation for the project Strengthening of the Quality Infrastructure for Innovations in the Agricultural and Food Sector in Ethiopia, which started in 2020. The aim of this project is to increase the use of quality infrastructure services. In cooperation with the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) as a political partner, the project focuses on improving quality assurance in the value chains of wheat, legumes and honey. It ranges from seed production and processing to quality control of the finished products. In June 2022, the project team travelled to Ethiopia to experience and support the developments, progress and perspectives locally.

“I’ve been the coordinator of this project at PTB since May 2022. For me, the mutual trust of project coordinators and local partners is an important requirement for successfully carrying out the project. Especially with me being the new project coordinator, this trip to Ethiopia has created a good foundation that we will be able to build on in the future”, says Ukeme Okon Archibong. Of course, this trip was also intended to introduce the new project coordinator and the new intermittent short-term expert Ralf Arning to the project context. After the restrictions due to the pandemic, it was a good opportunity to monitor the progress made in the project and to give the project activities new impetus.”

Two men in white lab coats stand in front of an experimental set-up with jars containing various soil samples.
From left to right: Mihretu Bedessa and Musefa Redi, staff of the Holeta Agricultural Research Center (HARC) soil laboratory, which is in the process of setting up a test programme for Ethiopian soil analysis laboratories with the support of PTB. Photo © Tobias Diergardt/PTB

The trip included meetings with the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture as the main partner, talks with parties involved in the Ethiopian quality infrastructure and in the agricultural and food sectors as well as with representatives of the private sector. The focus of these meetings and talks was on relevant aspects of quality assurance. The project team visited, amongst others, the Ethiopian Agriculture Authority, the Ethiopian Metrology Institute, the Holeta Agricultural Research Center (HARC) and the Ethiopian Accreditation Service (EAS) to discuss the local project activities. As part of the global project “Green Innovation Centres in the Agricultural and Food Sector in Ethiopia”, the team also met representatives of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, which coordinates the overarching project in Ethiopia, with the aim of extending the synergies that have already been achieved to the work at the local level.

In the weeks and months to come, the project’s focus will be on improving the laboratory services for the agricultural and food sectors. For this purpose, for example, it is intended to introduce or to improve quality management systems in the local laboratories which receive funding and to extend the service offers by introducing new validated methods. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is funding the project from 2020 to 2024 with a total budget of two million euros.

Cover Image © istock