Ethiopia is the fifth largest producer of maize in Africa and smallholder farmers make up 94 % of the crop production. The country produces non-GMO white maize, the preferred type of maize in neighboring markets. As the cheapest source of caloric intake in Ethiopia, providing 16.7 % of per capita calorie intake nationally, maize is an important crop for overall food security.
Maize is grown primarily in the Amhara, Oromia and SNNP regions of Ethiopia. While there have been significant gains made in maize production over the past decade, there is still a significant opportunity to further increase productivity. Maize is Ethiopia’s most important cereal in terms of production, with 6 million tons produced in 2012 by 9 million farmers across 2 million hectares of land. From 2001 to 2011, maize production increased by 50%, due to increases in both per hectare yields (+25%) and area under cultivation (+20%). Estimates indicate that the current maize yield could be doubled if farmers adopt higher quality inputs and proven agronomy best practices.
AGP Maize Activities
The AGP-AMDe objective for the maize value chain is to increase productivity and commercialization, along with improving quality and reducing post-harvest losses to increase income for smallholder farmers. The core activities AGP-AMDe is undertaking in maize producing woredas of the Amhara, Oromia and SNNPR regions include:
Enhancing productivity of farmers by enabling market linkage and networking. Through selected Ethiopian smallholder farmers’ cooperative unions (FCUs), large scale quality maize is currently being supplied to bigger buyers. 7 FCUs supplied 13, 592 MT quality maize to the World Food Program (WFP). In 2013, the partnership with the WFP Purchase for Progress (P4P) program expanded to 14 FCUs planning to supply almost twice as much white maize as supplied the year before. Additionally, FCUs increased knowledge on marketing and selling white maize to a standard market will help build their capacity to export.
Technology transfer support through hybrid maize seed popularization and demonstration of new maize varieties, BH-661 and two DuPont Pioneer hybrid maize varieties (Shone and Limu). The Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Program (AMSAP) has successfully been implemented in 16 woredas with 320 smallholder farmers obtaining two Pioneer hybrid maize varieties to demonstrate the benefits and drive demand for the new varieties.
Enabling access to finance by providing training on Agricultural Lending Risk Mitigation Strategies and supporting the preparation of action plans to accomplish WFPs P4P maize supply deals. AGP-AMDe has so far facilitated the approval of $1,442,105 USD agricultural and rural loans in the second quarter of 2013/2014.
Technical Training Support in post-harvest handling is provided at different levels of the value chain as a means of improving quality, increasing productivity and reducing harvest and post-harvest losses. Additionally, short term trainings of trainers (TOT) and Sell More For More (SMFM) trainings are given as a primary means to transfer skills from the development agents, FCUs and lead farmers to smallholder farmers.