DuPont recently launched collaborative initiatives in Ethiopia that will boost maize productivity among smallholder farmers and help increase food production for local communities. The investment will total more than $4 million over the next three years.
“DuPont is committed to collaboratively tackling global food security challenges and we are honored to work with USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and the Government of Ethiopia to significantly increase productivity for maize farmers here,” said DuPont Executive Vice President Jim Borel, during the DuPont Pioneer seed production plant opening in Menagesha.
DuPont is collaborating with the government of Ethiopia and USAID to advance the agricultural development and food security goals set by the government of Ethiopia. This collaboration, which is termed the Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Program (AMSAP), will provide sample seed to demonstration plots and field training sessions as well as build a network of farmer dealers and the current cooperatives to advance the utilization and acceptance of high-quality inputs and production techniques. The AMSAP also includes the facilitation of credit and grants for the construction of seed and post-harvest storage facilities.
Maize is a significant contributor to Ethiopia’s economic and social development, providing jobs, income and food. The AMSAP’s goal is to help enhance incomes for 35,000 smallholder maize farmers in 16 woredas or districts over three regions, and scale up a network for sustainable seed distribution. By switching from open-pollinated maize seed to hybrid seed and using improved farming inputs and techniques, participating farmers will be helped to increase their yields by as much as 50%.
A Production and Seed Storage Plant Opened Today as Part of the AMSAP
Under this program, new seed and grain warehousing facilities will be built at the local levels where farmer dealers can store small amounts of seed – thereby increasing seed availability – and where farmers can store their grain to wait for improved market prices. The improved postharvest grain storage will help to reduce losses by as much as 20%. These transformations will improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the region, helping to transition their farms from subsistence to self-sustaining operations.
DuPont opened a state-of-the-art seed processing plant and large capacity storage warehouse at Menagasha to meet the increasing demand for DuPont Pioneer seed. The facility, built at a cost of more than $2 million, is near Addis Ababa.
The plant’s capabilities are designed to ensure that DuPont Pioneer provides farmers with the highest quality of seed and include: automated seed cleaning, treating and packaging as well as gravity sorting and grading – the first plant of its kind in Ethiopia. Operating at full capacity, the plant will provide much-needed employment to permanent skilled workers as well as seasonal laborers.
“This program focused on smallholder farmers exemplifies the kind of public-private partnership envisioned in President Obama's Feed the Future Initiative and the G-8 New Alliance for Agriculture and Nutrition. It is a model for countries and private sector partners and shows that companies can invest responsibly and grow in the emerging African market,” said USAID Ethiopia Mission Director Dennis Weller.
“A primary objective of the Agriculture Growth program is increasing production and productivity, access to market and empowerment of women and youth. This DuPont-USAID partnership enhances the ability of smallholders to increase production and improve their livelihoods in a way that will contribute to accomplishment of the goals set forth in the Growth and Transformation Plan,” said H.E. Wondirad Mandefro, State Minister of Agriculture..
Khalid Bomba, CEO of the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency added, “Connecting Ethiopia's smallholder farmers with modern agronomic practices and products, including improved seed and storage facilities, is a pivotal step in helping them to increase their production and improve their livelihoods. DuPont’s investment in the Ethiopian agriculture sector, particularly in conjunction with the country’s newly amended seed proclamation, is an important step in helping us do just that.”