Towards a more fertile Ethiopia

Ensuring food security is one of the most important tasks of any state. In East Africa, food production has been hindered by factors such as high soil acidity which cancels the benefits of fertilizers. In Ethiopia, this problem has been tackled in a joint project by Ethiopian and Finnish research institutes and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The projects surveyed soil structure and the quantity and quality of the limestone and phosphorus reserves required to improve the soil quality.

Woinshet Tadesse, the ambassador of Ethiopia to Nordic countries considers the benefits of the project significant.

The geological approach allows us to understand the quality of soil in different areas and what measures are required in order to improve the productivity of the soil. Finland’s agricultural experience of acid soils is valuable to us.

She reminds that agriculture is important in all ways to Ethiopia, the country with the second largest population in Africa. Over 40 per cent of the gross national product and 85 per cent of export income is produced by agriculture.

“Most people working in the field of agriculture are small farmers, which makes increasing production and improving productivity of farms extremely important. Agriculture is also the key sector for economic development and banishing poverty in Ethiopia,” Tadesse says.

Multi-faceted cooperation

According to ambassador Tadesse, the cooperation between GTK and the Geological Survey of Ethiopia, the Ministry of Agriculture of Ethiopia and the Oromia Agricultural Research Institute helped on many levels.

The project helped us to increase our research capacity and to strengthen the cooperation between the private and public sectors in providing and delivering limestone to farmers. In addition, we learnt about digital geodata from GTK.

According to Tadesse, the Ethiopian government is now investing significantly in the agricultural sector. In addition to improving food security and minimising the negative impacts of climate change, the government’s goal is to widen the market for the produce of Ethiopian farmers.

Woinshet Tadesse