Ethiopia has made impressive progress reducing hunger and undernutrition, but “food security and nutrition are still key development issues,” said Dejene Abesha, RED&FS Secretariat, at the conference on The Future of Ethiopia’s Agriculture: Towards a Resilient System to End Hunger and Undernutrition held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on December 15, 2017. IFPRI and Compact2025 co-hosted the event with the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI) and the Rural Economic Development and Food Security (RED&FS) Sector Working Group.
Dr. Bart Minten, IFPRI Ethiopia Strategy Support Program leader opened the conference, which discussed new research to inform Ethiopia’s agricultural policy. Mr. Abesha also gave opening remarks on the timeliness of IFPRI’s research on the future of Ethiopia’s agriculture. Dr. Shenggen Fan, IFPRI director general and Compact2025 leadership council member, added that agriculture will continue to play a critical role for Ethiopia to achieve its ambitious Seqota Declaration to end child stunting by 2030, among other goals.
Professor Justin Lin, founder and first director of the China Center for Economic Research and former chief economist of the World Bank, gave a keynote discussing the role of agriculture in economic transformation. Agricultural modernization is critical, he argued, for humanitarian reasons and to prepare conditions for industrialization. Dr. Paul Dorosh, IFPRI division director, also gave a keynote address on “The Future of Ethiopia’s Agriculture: Economy-wide analysis of future scenarios”. Ongoing research shows that non-farm investment is the best mechanism for welfare gains for the poor and non-poor. As such, agriculture projects to remain highly effective at reducing poverty through 2040.
In reflecting on the investment priorities discussed in the keynote addresses, H.E. Ato Mekonnen Manyazewal, Executive Director EDRI, urged that “growth and development is for the people—we should make the choice that improves welfare.” Ethiopia’s commitment to transforming agriculture for larger economic transformation has been a centerpiece of their strategy, he said, and will continue to play a key role for years to come.
After two sessions on recent IFPRI research on Ethiopian agriculture, Dr. Teunis van Rheenen opened the distinguished panel on Compact2025: Reshaping Ethiopian agriculture to end hunger and undernutrition in Ethiopia with an overview of Compact2025 and its engagement in Ethiopia. The initiative will offer technical support to Ethiopia’s National Information Platform for Nutrition (NIPN) to share knowledge and information to accelerate progress in the country. The multisectoral panel discussed ways in which Ethiopia can reshape agriculture to accelerate progress with thoughts from Dr. Sisay Sinamo (Ministry of Health), Mr. John Edgar of USAID, Hoddinott, Professor Tadele Federe of Addis Ababa University and EDRI, and Professor Fassil Kebede of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Dr. Fan concluded the meeting with several key takeaways:
- The Government is committed to ending hunger and undernutrition, but a good governance and accountability structure will be critical.
- Knowledge, data, and capacity are also key, and NIPN is a great opportunity to push for more.
- Ethiopia is also actively engaged in mutual learning, which will help shorten the learning curve for themselves and others—toward this end, Compact2025’s proposed global event in late 2018 will help to foster mutual learning for accelerated progress.
By working to end hunger and undernutrition first, Ethiopia and others can achieve many other Sustainable Development Goals.
Meeting documentation can be found here:
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