CDAIS Project Footprints in Ethiopia

80% of the population in Ethiopia is employed by agriculture sector and around 47% of the GDP is attributed to Agriculture. Because the context in the sector is changing significantly and quickly, policy makers need move at the same speed. Among the several changes observed, agricultural value chains are growing complex.

Key actors, including commercial farmers, processors, traders, exporters, bankers, investment brokers and others become abundantly prevalent. Research and Development actors in Ethiopia have to make a shift from restricting their interactions only with smallholder farmers (conventional approach) to working with all value chain actors systematically, aiming at creating enabling environment for all, but also developing the capacity of the smallholder farmers to become successful in the complex value chain interactions.


With the support of the EU; FAO and AGRINATURA, iCRA and EIAR have partnered to develop the functional capacity of actors in Agriculture with the ultimate goal to make Agricultural Innovation Systems more efficient and sustainable in meeting the diverse demands of all actors. Five innovation partnerships/niches have been selected by the project. These include the Chickpea Production and Marketing (Amhara- Gonder), Malt Barely production and Marketing (Oromia Arsi), Community seed production and marketing (SNNPR-Butajira), Feed safety and quality (Addis Ababa-National), Milk Demand Stimulation (Addis Ababa- National).

In the spirit of developing functional capacity – need assessments, developing coaching plans and implementation of niche activities were the key interventions. CDAIS also provided supports for three organizations (EIAR, MoA and Self Help Africa), which provide innovative support services to their clients.

  • More than sixty organisations with diverse missions have been involved in the five niches and the project has developed their functional capacities based on a learning by doing mode;
  • Ten innovation facilitators have received intensive trainings on the concept of Agricultural Innovation Systems(AIS), communication and facilitation skills, listening skills, advocacy skills, partnership and networking.
  • Three niches have successfully influenced government policy in the area of seed marketing, feed safety and quality and national milk school feeding strategy;
  • In May 2018, a market place event was organized by the project and successful linkages have been created between the niches, donor organizations, input suppliers, research organizations and local administrations;
  • Three organizations received training to develop their functional capacities and started to pilot their own project on innovative support services;
  • CDAIS studied the role of agricultural Multi Stakeholder Platforms (MSP) in supporting innovation in Ethiopia. Key limitations in terms of functional capacity have also been identified.

Learn more about iCRA contributions to the CDAIS project here



iCRA is dedicated to improving the livelihoods of farmers and their communities. We do this by making research, education, innovation and agribusiness work; meaning we help bridge gaps, develop trust & mutual understanding and bring different worlds and actors together – to find solutions that benefit all.