The Untold Stories of African Agriculture

Lessons from Ethiopia

Edited by Tsedeke Abate
July 2024
More details
  • Publisher
  • ISBN 9781800626362
  • Language English
  • Pages 384 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"

This landmark volume presents the results of a comprehensive and coherent in-depth assessment of Ethiopian agriculture and draws lessons from it to generate actionable recommendations that will inform policy decisions and priority setting for agricultural transformation across Africa.

Policy makers in Africa are faced with the challenges of ensuring food and nutrition security and the economic wellbeing of their rapidly growing populations while at the same time maintaining the integrity of their natural resource base. Between 2000 and 2021, 74% of the growth in overall crop production on the continent was derived from increases in land area expansion, while increases in yield contributed only 26% of the growth. This unchecked expansion of land use puts the sustainability of the natural resource base under severe pressure.

Even though some countries have made substantial increases in their farm productivity over the last two decades, the overall performance for Africa is far behind other regions. For the most part, in Africa, agriculture is not fulfilling its expected functions of food and nutrition security, increased export earnings, import substitution, and raw material supply for local industries.

Attempts have been made to transform African agriculture over the years, but few countries have succeeded in achieving sustainable change. Using examples from Ethiopia this book identifies the major factors for success and the root causes of underperformance, and offers evidence-based recommendations for future decision making, policy change and the creation of growth. This book:

  • Draws on a unique set of case studies from Ethiopia described and told from a truly African perspective.

  • Emphasizes to policy makers in Africa that development cannot be outsourced and there are no shortcuts; it is only through consistent effort and sustained support for their agricultural research and development that positive change can be brought about.

  • States that past agricultural development efforts by the international community have not properly included a strong African voice, and that therefore, all future academic research, policies and strategies dealing with the continent's agriculture and food security should be formulated by Africa's own leading thinkers and experts.

  • Is not a polemic; its arguments are knowledge and evidence based, building a compelling picture of how agricultural development can be sustained for the future.

Tsedeke Abate

Tsedeke Abate has more than four decades of experience as a leader and researcher at international, regional, and national levels. He is the founder and leader of HGV (Homegrown Vision), an independent think-tank on African agriculture. He led the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa project and CIMMYT's Maize Seed Systems in Africa between April 2012 and July 2017. Between February 2008 and March 2012, Tsedeke led the Tropical Legumes II project of ICRISAT which was implemented across Africa and Southern Asia. He was Director General of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, where he introduced transformational changes, between December 2003 and March 2007.

agricultural transformation; agricultural policy; indigenous sustainable systems; agricultural productivity measures; food and nutrition security; maximising export earnings; import substitution; raw material production; agricultural land use; crop diversification; value addition in agriculture; Ethiopian agriculture; Sub-Saharan African agriculture; African agriculture