Strengthening EARS-CGIAR partnerships for effective agricultural transformation in Ethiopia
Consultative meeting
4-5 December 2014
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

  • To introduce the activities of the Ethiopian Agricultural Research System (EARS) institutes and those of CGIAR centres in Ethiopia
  • To identify possible collaboration areas and modalities of collaboration for the future.


See the agenda shared with participants.

Day 1
  • 08.30: Arrival & registration (Organizers)
  • 09.00: Welcome address by Dr. Barry Shapiro
  • 09.10: Introduction of the program and participants by Ewen Le Borgne
  • 09.20: Opening speech by HE Ato Tefera Derbew
  • 09.40: Status of the agricultural sector: challenges and opportunities by Dr. Fentahun, Director of EIAR.
  • 10.10: Q&A
  • 10.30: Coffee break
  • 11.00: Overview of CGIAR in Ethiopia by Dr. Siboniso Moyo, ILRI DG representative in Ethiopia
  • 11.20: Q&A
Research programs, challenges and possible areas of collaboration (15' of presentation each)
  • 11.30: CIMMYT / IFPRI / ILRI
  • 12.15: Q&A on the last three presentations and overall CGIAR presentation
  • 12.35: Lunch break
  • 13.35: ICARDA / ICRISAT / IWMI
  • 14.20: Q&A on the last three presentations
  • 14.40: CIFOR / CIP / CIAT
  • 15.25: Q&A on the last three presentations
  • 15.45: Coffee break
  • 16.15: ICRAF / ICIPE
  • 16.45: Q&A on the last two presentations
  • 17.05: Close

Day 2
  • 08.30: Identification of concrete areas of collaboration and deciding on modalities of collaboration
  • 10.30: Coffee break
  • 11.00: Review of the EIAR-CGIAR sustainable intensification and climate change program in Ethiopia
    • Introduction of the program by Dr. Fantahun (EIAR)
    • Introduction of the program by Dr. Shapiro (ILRI)
  • 11.45: Discussion
  • 12.30: Close and lunch break

Livestock Master Plan presentation
  • 14.00: Welcome and introduction to the Livestock Masterplan Event
  • 14.15: Presentation of the Livestock Masterplan
  • 15.00: Questions and answers
  • 15.55: Closing words and thank you's
  • 16.00: Close


Meeting notes

Words of welcome (Dr. Barry Shapiro, ILRI)

We want the research agencies to contribute research generally as we know you have very much to contribute. We have a lot of hope that this will be very fruitful. Hopefully this is only the beginning of a regular and ongoing dialogue. I think this is a wonderful opportunity to learn about one another’s work and what interests us from each other’s work.

Opening speech (Ato Tefera Derebew, Minister of Agriculture, Government of Ethiopia)

The country is preparing the 2nd GTP and the outcome of this dialogue will be deemly considered in this process. My ministry will provide the necessary support in strengthening the collaboration between NARS and CGIAR. I would like to thank the CG centres for this.
With these remarks, I would like to open the meeting.

Opening address (Dr. Fentahun Mengistu on the status of agricultural research ‘Challenges and opportunities’)

See the presentation
NARS structure includes EIARs, RARIs, HLIs, CGIAR centres, private sector bodies and research from other areas (sugar, industry, water, forestry etc.). We have institutionalized the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Council.
Three major activities: 1) generate agricultural technologies, knowledge, information); 2) popularize improved tech and Capacity Development; 3) Maintenance / multiplication and provision of source technologies.
927 crop varieties released… More and more varieties of wheat released, ditto with maize (lots of hybrids) which are addressing all agro-ecologies.
Maximum yield achieved in this country is for potatoes…
General productivity increase between 1996 and 2014.
- Focus on ag, research, S&T
- Tech demand on the rise and farmers awareness and skill improved.
- Global knowledge pool – ICT
- Regional research initiatives (ASARECA etc.)
- University and industry linkages
- Agric constraints on the rise
- High yielding and quality varieties
- Technologies for agro-industry, export
- Bio-security / insect pest diseases, weeds
- Nutrition security
- Techologies for horticulture, livestock, post-harvest, irrigation, NRM etc.
- Biotechnology
- Socio-economic, agro-ecosystems, system studies
- Unaddressed commodities
- Climate change / climate-proof technologies
- Capacity: tech generation and adaptation capacity
- Strong linkage, coordination, integration within NARS, with HLI, IARs, industry etc.
Ag research intensity is declining relatively. But more FTE researchers per 100,000 farmers.
Total public spending in PPP dollars has evolved.

CGIAR/EARS collaboration… challenges
Current areas: a) research and tech transfer, 2) research financing and resource sharing, 3) capacity building.
Challenges in our collaboration: not all CG centres are active and work with the NARS/EIAR. Some less visible at national level. Inadequate alignment to NARS, unclear working modalities, unclear demarcation of activities; sometimes trivial programs to the country; inadequate synergy among the CGs; inadequate focus on building the NARS capacity (CGIAR Is not building NARS capacity to stand on its own); at times draining NARS/Manpower competition; recruiting independent staff for projects rather than making use of NARS.
On financial allocation/handling: inadequate finance mobilization relative to CG allocations (high staff cost s/t up to 65-70%). Financial allocation transparency, handling and resource flow. Unclear procedures and budget details; budget / resources allocation on trivial activities/items; sometimes too small grants. Overstrain on the facilities and physical resources of NARS not proportional to the resources allocated.

Barry Shapiro (session chair):
Very impressed with the many successes and achievements of the EARS. Impressive that links are built with universities and private sector. You have painted a clear picture of challenges on agriculture and in our collaboration. There is a need to do even more. All of us are here as we are interested in collaborating more with the EARS, seeing more impact etc. and seeing that there is a better alignment with the national program.
Thank you for your very open remarks and we have some time for questions and answers.

Q. Marku Kignoses – from ATA
Farm Mechanizations, we are still keeping with the oxen mechanization. Currently, there are 20, 30, 40 horse power tractors .. that could change tremendously the landscape of agriculture in Ethiopia. But still there are about 11,000 million oxen still on tillage in agriculture. How is this going to be correlated and why oxen drawn implementations?
A. (Dr. Fentahun)
I think we are not going to change all the 11,000 million households … local plough is still important … without it, it would have been very difficult to manage agriculture given the small holder farmer situation in Ethiopia. Tractors are already being used in the extension system and we are working to expand this. For example the Melkassa research center is working widely on this. In addition we have several activities at different range of implementation. But the comment made is taken as valid.

Q. Bishaw
In terms of the agro Industry … what is being done to link farmers to the agro industry? … Are there partnerships to make sure that the technologies generated are adopted by the farmers?
A. (Dr. Fentahun)
This is something we need to improve on but there are some encouraging initiatives for example the linkages that are already established to link malt producing farmers with malt consuming industry, and the wheat (durum wheat) producers to processors. Also there are other initiatives of linking to markets for example in the sector of spices specifically turmeric.
The research system is working in stimulating partnerships with the agro industries. This needs to improve – with a joint effort of the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Science and Technology, Universities, National Agricultural Research system.

Q. Dr. Said (ICARDA) – about mechanization - Farmers have half a hectare of land on the average.
How economical is it to mechanize?
  1. A. (Dr. Fentahun)
What we need to have is to have a range of machineries, mechanization of technologies that can be operated by farmers.
To address the land issue, we are using the “cluster approach” of bringing farmers together (200 hectars) with those engaged in similar crops – in a group approach / cooperatives. Then we engage young men (jobless people) being recruited to provide services … the farmers might not actually own the tractors … but they get the benefit of using these machineries. This again also needs to be further looked into and see ways for improvement.

Comment from the Minister of Agriculture – HE Ato Tefera Derebew

On the mechanization aspect - When we talk about technology we should be talking about a technology that can augment labor instead of displacing labor from the rural areas. We should be able to align and answer the technology demand of the small holder farmer. Most technology interventions doesn’t seem to take this into account. Whatever technologies coming out from the research institutes, they need to be of the type that can be easily disseminated.

With regard to working along the value chain – this is well addressed – we would like to push this area
We are strategically positioning ourselves so that we can link the farmers with the agro industrial process. But still rural industrialization is lacking which needs to be taken up. When we think of GTP 2 we have to take into consideration this aspect. The market and value addition aspect will be addressed

With regard of the challenges - From the government side – the challenges are well understood and entertained. We would like to get a clear commitment and clear direction on this so that we can take the result of this consultative meeting. 11 CG centers mean a lot of massive research. All the issues that are meant for discussion are really the issues of the government and we would like to get some direction from this consultative meeting.

Q. Dr. Endalkacehw – N2Africa project
We need machineries that fit into the system, machineries which can farm, till harvest …
Experiences from EIAR and universities .mostly focus on technologies … yes we need technologies … but I wonder if EIAR shifts towards creating linkages to the market?

Q. Dr. Siboniso Moyo - ILRi
Skills scaling,, could you identify at least three skills that needs to be scaled up?

Q. Dr. Tesfaye – Bahir Dar university
Challenge in engagement in NARs approach, the involvement of CG centers in NARs is still not strong as expected … what is the reason behind and what is the way forward? If we don’t put a clear direction for the future we will not make much difference … we need to put clear responsibility for each institution – that needs to be addressed.

Q: How can we address the issue of forages? How do we manage the incompatibility current grazing system with the number of livestock?

Q. Aliye – Borena Agricultural institute
CG centers have got their own mandates … NARs have their own mandates … but we have the same goal … hence we can contribute together. But we need a National framework in which these actors can come together, and put a mechanism on how to pull efforts and work together for better results.

We have different technologies, for eg. wheat varieties, sorghum varieties , pieces of technology here and there …. unless we have a synergy it is difficult to achieve … How does the National Agricultural Council govern such activities , what do they bring in? what do they take out? Is there a room for the council to govern this kind of interactions?

Answers by Dr. Fentahun
On the issue raised from Dr. Endalkachew – having a multi-use machinery is important and right comment.
Issue of market – very critical – and we are working with cooperatives for input as well as output market
Sustainably and systematically strengthening these cooperatives is something we need to work on

Dr. Boni’s comment on Skills … we lack skills especially in livestock, Breeding, Pathogens (diseases), even in the areas o research, most research is inclines towards crops when it comes to the NARs. Also there is a gap in irrigation.

Dr. Tesfaye’s question on loose partnership – emanates from organizational set up … the CG centers have a global mandate .. the NARs have a national mandate … some CG centers come to the regions … some work closely with the NARs … some don’t do as much … they have their own framework.
We need to see together these respective frameworks and see ways of working together …

Loose linkage makes us unable to come together and identify and see ways of working together.
MoU’s might help alleviate this gap.

On the question of what should be the framework addressing the national and regional agricultural program, the National Council cannot govern the CGs … It can only govern the national stakeholders. We need to put in place a modality … a platform … that allows for joint planning bringing together the different stakeholders;, the universities, the regional and federal agricultural systems

Presentation by Dr. Siboniso Moyo (ILRI) about the overall CGIAR presence in Ethiopia

See presentations

Overview of International Livestock Research (ILRI) activities in Ethiopia
An overview of CGIAR activities in Ethiopia

Q. Dr. Fentahun – EIAR
There are 15 CG centers – which are given global mandate, not specific to some regions. It is stated that ILRI is coordinating Livestock and Fish but we don’t see much activity on fish
Is it because fish is not an important commodity? It seems as if the centers are not working in their whole are of mandate. Why?
A. Boni
We work on targeted areas and targeted initiatives and different centers lead different programs depending on their area of specialization. ILRI works on the Livestock and Fish CRP along with CIAT, ICARDA and World Fish. For the fish component of the Livestock and Fish CRP, we are working with World fish. If the National Agricultural System in Ethiopia has a demand on fish … we can link up with World fish.

Q. Negussie – Haramaya university
CGIAR does a lot of research, they generate information, technologies so on but they work mostly independently. Why?
A. Boni
We do not work independently … we work in partnership with the local partners, with the National Agricultural Research Institutes, regional offices, bureau of agriculture.
A. Barbara – ICARDA – (Supplementing)
We are working with the regional centers and with the universities … We are aware that the number of universities in Ethiopia has exploded … It is absolutely vital for us to link up with these universities.
A. Barry (Supplementing)
The critical point to emphasis here is that we are not here to claim any exclusive responsibilities for successes … whatever we accomplish are because of the partnerships … we are interested in leveraging whatever capacities we have through partnerships … The agricultural transformation that is going on in Ethiopia is due to this partnership. But it needs to be strengthened. That’s why we are here today.

Q. Yeshitila – ARARI
To improve the quality of research we need to have high level lab facilities … when we look at the facilities that we have they are very limited and under equipped … we need more attention from the CG on this … what is the prospect?

Q. Ahmed from Afar
The NARs system focuses more on crop … ILRI - being livestock research institute .. what plans do you have for the pastoral areas?
A. Boni
On the question of working on pastoral areas, we are working with part of the advisory committee … and also working with EIAR on pastoral areas … we are piloting and testing Index Based insurance program which is one of the programs in ILRI … we are working with the national system on this.

Building labs ? Who is going to build a lab here?
We have the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) hub in Nairobi. We have quite large number of fellowships running through this lab … Facilities are there but access might be what needs to be worked upon.

Presentation by Dr. Bekele Abeyo (CIMMYT)

See the presentation
Challenges: emerging diseases
Limitations: no host country agreement with Ethiopian government, some restrictions on germplasm.
Areas of collab: build capacity on MAS, genotypic selection, LT strategy for emerging diseases, gender focused VC analysis, CA, precision phenotyping ‘take it to the farmers’…

Presentation by Dr. Bart Minten (IFPRI)

See the presentation

Presentation by Dr. Siboniso Moyo (ILRI)

See the presentation (UPCOMING)

Q&A on the CIMMYT/IFPRI/ILRI presentations

Q. Terefe belihu – ATA
Appreciate all the presenters. I have 2 questions, one for CIMMYT, one for IFPRI
1) CIMMYT – Dr. Bekele – as he has already said maize and wheat together are very important crop over 40, 000 households depend on this but both maize and wheat have problems – suffering from recurring diseases … what are the plans to make this coming going and going of varieties to resist /stand against this recurring disease problem?
2) IFPRI – the coffee industry – the problem in Ethiopia is not only pricing – but it is also the environmental issues – the waters are polluted – is there anything planned for the environmental issues?

Q. Yeshitila – ARARI
For IFPRI – Could you please tell us the impact of research and investment in agricultural research?

Q. Dr. Asnake - EIAR
For ILRI = Ethiopia is known to be of the biggest livestock resource – ILRI has been interacting in the improvement of resource for the last 40 years as presented … How do you assess the impact? The improvement particular with herd … Still people are struggling with getting milk, in getting egg
How do you assess the impact?

Q. Dr. Fentahun
For CIMMYT - Looking the potential of wheat and maize – both the lab facilities are based outside of Ethiopia. What is the rationale behind of having big capacitates outside of Ethiopia? … why not in Ethiopia?

Q. Mekuria Tadesse – National council
The CGIAR system is very professional. CGIAR centers have strategic research themes and strategic research roles but it seems that they are not focused on some basic commodities like Teff, enset , which are very important … The research systems are not focused on these basic commodities … Focus on basic research is needed as well as research on policy is needed.


Dr. Bekele
On the the plan for controlling recurring diseases like rust - CIMMYT shifts from genes, shifting from major genes to minor that are disease resistant. We also use marker asserted selections – varieties that are sustainable. It is not a one bullet solution – crop rotations, diversification, using chemicals are also part of the solution. We believe that more collaboration with NARS can complement our efforts on this.

With regards to the MLA (maize disease) … our focus has been on first controlling the presence of the disease – as soon as the info was heard from Melkassa agricultural research institute 2 scientists were assigned and mapping was done. Now trying to limit the disease spread, also taking into account agronomical considerations.

On the issue of having big capacitates outside of Ethiopia, fortunately / unfortunately … the regional / global maize program is located in Kenya … and hence programs are closely linked with HQ’s and hence it seems that the lab centers are also located in these localities.

At the same time it seems that there is no investment on host country agreement which is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Dr. Azage – on behalf of Boni

We wish IFPRI can include the impact of ILRI in their impact assessments. J

More complex problems need systematized approaches. The government policy is currently conducive and we have got a state minister now for Livestock. We believe that this will support the uptake in livestock research; we need the reorientation of the agricultural research outputs. As the investment in agriculture increases the demand for technology as well as knowledge will also increase.

There is a lot of capacity building that has gone into the Ethiopian system that we need to document.

IFPRI … answer
It is not only the economic benefit of some commodities (like coffee) that we focus on but also the rate of returns of such commodities. On the impact of research, we focus on improved seed development showing very high rate of return. Impact and rate of return need also to be seen over the long run (time consideration). For example – impact on innovation.

Presentation by Dr. Said Silim (ICARDA)

See the presentation

Presentation by Dr. Karuturi Rao (ICRISAT)

See the presentation
Mandate crops we have are not seen much in Ethiopia. Sorghum and chickpea are important crops in the country. Groundnut and pigeon pea are increasing very much in Ethiopia.

Presentation – video – by Simon Langan (IWMI)

See the (video) presentation: UPCOMING soon


Feedback from ICRISAT – Dr. Rao
One of the issues raised is research on Aflatoxin – we are currently conducting an assessment which we hope will be finalized soon.
Integrated watershed management and small holder farmer targeted interventions were discussed. The need to identify research issues – what is the optimal unit was stressed. Making intervention at the optimal unit is effective.
Harvesting the potential created by the investments need to be utilized.
Climate variability management was raised – we are happy to collaborate… share experiences and lessons that we have.

Feedback from ICARDA – Dr. Said
First question was about impact - Dr. GebreHiwot did the study … over 90% of the varieties show a scalable impact.
The need to look into Genetic resources was discussed.
The small ruminant value chain along with the outcomes of the community based breeding and fattening project was raised.

Presentation by Dr. Habtemariam Kassa (CIFOR)

See the presentation

Presentation by Asrat Asfaw (CIP)

See the presentation
26 staff at 3 offices.
Challenges: No host country agreement…

Q&A session about CIP and CIFOR presentations

(CIP) Processing potatoes, changing consumption patterns, awareness of sweet potato; research on potatoes for potatoes as feeds also. Work on germplasm to respond to needs of national program and to push the gov’t to develop materials… Sweet potatoes vitamin A rich materials we are working with local NGOs, schools, to change the behavior etc. food and feed products to change the future. Feeds a future direction.
(CIFOR) Challenges associated with trees and propagation challenges, eucalyptus good or bad – promoting landscape tree planting and linking with agroforestry etc….
We discussed the need to create linkages between forestry and agriculture. Looking at area enclosures, to intensify agricultural production, by becoming source of fodder and source of timber.

Presentation by Lulseged Desta (CIAT)

See the presentation
All programs work at plot and landscape level.

Presentation by Kiros Hadgu (ICRAF)

See the presentation

Presentation by Chris Prideaux (ICIPE)

See the presentation
Chris Prideaux is the ICIPE regional director for research and partnerships in East and Southern Africa.

Q&A session about the CIAT, ICRAF and ICIPE presentations

Q. Dr. Fentahun
For ICRAF - Why not you scale up such activities of agro forestry in Ethiopia too?
A. Dr. Kiros
Answer we are integrating different cereal crops (maize, wheat … )… We are working with the regions we are assisting the regions, we have a platform ever green agriculture and climate smart agriculture
working with other partners like Sasakawa global.

Q. Dr. Said
For ICIPE– how do you go about giving organic certification?
A. Dr Chris
We are trying to provide biological alternatives and we do that through follow-up.
Other areas of interest might be to promote the benefit of bees apart from bi- products like honey wax. We try to support farmers in the management of their bee hives as the way you position your hives matters a lot for production.
A question was raised on any prospect for the centers to to venture into the pastoral areas.

Dr. Chris from ICIPE commented that they are always open for collaboration but pastoral area is not their area.

Dr Kiros from ICRAF promised that there are prospects that will take them beyond the 4 regions

Leulseged Desta from CIAT commented that CIAT is already working in Borana in partnership with CCAFS , also Afar region on forages.

Final words from Dr. Dawit Alemu

We’ve learned a lot today. An eye-opener to work closely. The coverage of the CGIAR research seems to augment what the NARS.
What priorities for tomorrow?
  1. Tomorrow we focus on how we can systematize collaboration so that research programs from CGIAR are aligned with the national system and vice-versa. How to align outreach programs to work together on the development aspects of agriculture.
  2. A second aspect is around the research results, reports etc. so we probably need to create a system to communicate the results of research for development, to communicate and not confuse development actors. We have to think about how we can communicate.
  3. Third aspect: the key challenge is the limited capacity. The proportion of PhD students is low so how can we work on transferring experiences and skills from CGIAR to NARA (mentoring, training, secondments etc.)… How can we meet each other and support each other. There is huge capacity within CGIAR that can be shared with the NARS.
  4. 4th point: some issues have been raised by different CG centres (host country agreement etc.) so we have to think about the mechanisms to put in place so that these issues raised are addressed. One issue we need to discuss is this.

These four issues need to be acted upon in a sustainable manner. Should we set up a committee to take care of this in a regular manner?
This seems to me as the major issues to think about overnight and tomorrow we need to focus on concrete issues and come up with a concrete output to follow up with.
Additional pointers?
è How to reach beyond the 4 major regions?
How to use capacities using e.g. secondments both ways and how to institutionalize this?

Day 2 group work: teasing out collaboration modalities

Partnership committee group

Meeting next week and we will hear by email about this.

Aligning research and extension priorities group

See the working group result/report

Capacity Development group

High staff turnover undermining impacts.
See the working group result/report.

Publications & Communication group
(Group members: Alan Duncan, Fisseha, BD Uni head of research, )
Principles for comms: it has to work both ways, use champions and expand from there, mobilize commitment.
Issues around publications: Managing expectations
- Name / (personal and corporate) authorship (who should be in the author list?)
- Who publishes?
- Open access policies in place?
- Visibility of publications and online (who makes publications visible and posts online)? Risks of plagiarism; options to publish on the Ethiopian Agricultural Portal (EAP) or on D-Space
Ways forward for publications:
- Attach publication guidelines to MoUs and collaborative agreements
- Discuss these intellectual properties as part of the research planning;
- Set standards (related to our guidelines) spelling out roles and responsibilities in writing etc.
- Compare (and analyse) guidelines and how we categorize outputs and publications (and the publishing process) – bearing in mind the quality level
- Keep a dialogue on this as we go along
- Compare our open access standards and licences
- Work together on publications that cater for both local and national audiences (e.g. targeting international journals and local journals)
- Use ‘grey literature’ (research reports)
- Explore options around online repositories
Issues around communication: Opening the lines of communication
- We need to move beyond (just) the current informal and individual lines of communication
- What portals or spaces do we use to communicate?
- Even if we have these spaces, what to communicate? E.g. research outputs, calls for funding and other opportunities
- Platforms we use may differ – perhaps the newly created EARC has something to offer on this?
- What to do about translation? Can we agree on join publications that get translated in national languages?
- How to communicate with e.g. farmers, industry etc. (this is to be addressed later)
Ways forward for communication:
- Have a regular face-to-face meeting, e.g. annual EARS-CGIAR forum? And have a broader participation next time (e.g. universities, regional research centres etc.) and use that opportunity to explore interesting radios (from e.g. universities)
- Explore what EARC can do on communication too?
- Use interesting initiatives for learning and improving:
  • E.g. Harmonisation of communication among ministries
  • E.g. USAID research-extension experiences for lessons…
- Have a quarterly newsletter about activities?
- Have a try-out with a social network to share information (and if some people buy into it, expand it)

Who will do what about this?
- CG comms / ILRI – perhaps explore having someone who takes care of this specifically over time
- EIAR public relations unit
- EIAR director for partnerships, communication and IPRs (intellectual property rights)
- PR unit of regional research institutes
- External relations’ office from universities (in charge of international communication)

Sustainable Intensification / Climate Change proposal development

Dr. Fentahun Mengistu and Dr. Barry Shapiro finally jointly presented a program in development that will focus on sustainable intensification and climate change and aims at bringing together various institutions from the national and international agricultural research systems.

See the presentation by Dr. Fentahun Mengistu
See the presentation by Dr. Barry Shapiro

This joint program will invite further additions to the concept notes of the 10 or so pillars identified. These concept notes will be further developed in December 2014 and in January 2015 and will culminate in a proposal development and validation workshop expected to take place in early February 2015.

This presentation and the discussion that followed (undocumented, alas) closed this meeting and all participants were later invited to a presentation about the Livestock Master Plan at the ILRI/CGIAR campus.