Towards sustainable agriculture and rural development in the Ethiopian highlands
Proceedings of the Technical Workshop on Improving the Natural Resources Base and Rural Well-being
The Ethiopian highlands comprise nearly 45 percent of the total land area and support over 85 percent of the country's 64 million people that are overwhelmingly rural. The highlands are the centre of economic activity of the country and are characterized by enormous ecological, environmental, agricultural and cultural diversity. The Ethiopian highlands have also significant global environmental importance as being the source of some important transboundary rivers, notably the Blue Nile, and host a wide variety of flora and fauna that are rich in biodiversity.
There is severe degradation of the natural resources base that is fundamental to the achievement of sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) and these highlands will not be able to produce and sustain livelihoods if the current trend of intensive cultivation, overgrazing and deforestation, soil erosion and soil fertility decline, lack of water control, shortage of livestock feed continue unabated.
The Workshop was conducted in the Amhara Region in collaboration with the Amhara Regional Agricultural Research Institute (ARARI), which provides a classic representation of the challenges and the opportunities facing the Ethiopian highlands. The Workshop brought together leading Ethiopian and international experts from diverse institutions within and outside Ethiopia such as relevant government agencies, agricultural research institutes, universities, local non-governmental organizations, bilateral and multilateral agencies and the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).