The Ethiopian agricultural sector has been a priority in the development agenda for the government over the last 15 years. The fundamentals of agricultural development are preserved in the country’s overall economic development policy known as Agricultural Development Led Industrialization (ADLI). Thus, agricultural development is expected to drive the process of industrialization. Following/based on ADLI, the Rural Development Policy and Strategies (RDPS) are designed to ensure effective and efficient utilization of resources to promote agricultural growth, integrate agricultural development activities with other sectors, and establish effective agricultural marketing systems.
The government also formulated a plan for accelerated and sustained development to end poverty (PASDEP) by promoting, among other things, commercialization of agriculture and growth of private sector and infrastructure (especially roads, energy, and irrigation). Presently, Ethiopia is in the process of institutionalizing Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) within the existing sector strategies and in the framework of ADLI. CAADP sets the principle of allocation of 10% of the national budget to the agricultural sector targeting at attaining a 6% average annual growth rate for the sector at the national level as a main strategy to half poverty and food insecurity by 2015 (MDG).
Towards the goal of reducing poverty and food insecurity in the country, it is imperative that growth in the agricultural sector is proportional with the growth in domestic demand for food. This will ensure that it will result in adequate quantity and quality of surpluses to meet demand for local industries and foreign earnings. The major challenges to food security experienced in Ethiopia are:
- low farm productivity (owing to subsistence farming systems in crops and livestock production)
- poor market linkages and little value addition
- land degradation
- poor infrastructure
Significant investments are being made to address these underlying causes of chronic food insecurity in Ethiopia through programs like AGP.
The Agricultural Growth Program (AGP) is aligned with the fundamentals of the:
- Agriculture Development Led Industrialization (ADLI)
- Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP)
- Rural Development Policy and Strategies (RDPS); and
- Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP) programs.