On Thursday, 28 November 2019, the government of Ethiopia, in partnership with the European Union, Denmark and the Netherlands, launched the Agricultural Commercialization Cluster (ACC) program.
The program to be implemented with close to 100-million-euro funding from the European Union, Denmark and the Netherlands and will benefit five million Ethiopian smallholder farmers.
President Sahle-Work Zewde, Ambassador of the EU to Ethiopia, Johan Borgstam, Ambassador of Denmark to Ethiopia, Karin Poulsen, and CEO of the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), Khalid Bomba, attended the launch.
In her remark, the president highlighted the importance of the agriculture sector for the development of the country and called for more work to improve on it.
She also called for more involvement from women in the sector.
The Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency has spent the last two years testing and ramping up the clustering approach on farmland throughout the country.
There are now 1.3 million farmers organized in 30 000 clusters across Ethiopia.
“Each cluster is planting improved seeds at the same time using the same agro-ecologically specific fertilizers, benefiting from the same technical support and harvesting their crops with the same machinery,” said Khalid Bomba.
The agricultural commercialization cluster is in large part funded by the EU and its member states, with major contributions from Denmark with 47 million euros, the Netherlands with 42.5 million euros and the European Union with ten million euros.
“Agricultural transformation should benefit society and it’s essential that the ACC keeps its focus on youth and women inclusion in the transformation agenda. Climate-smart solutions in the agricultural transformation are also a key priority for us,” said Danish Ambassador, Karin Poulsen, in the opening address of the launch.
The European Union’s support to the ACC targets the agricultural clusters in the catchment areas of the four newly built agro-industrial parks that the EU is supporting via its PROSEAD agro-industrial support programme.
“The crops grown in these clusters will be a major source of quality raw materials for food production in Ethiopia’s agro-industrial parks, which will create thousands of decent new jobs for rural youth, especially women,” said EU Ambassador, Johan Borgstam.