Like other countries in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is prone to droughts and floods, which often hit poor farmers and herders hard, eroding their assets further and leaving them with little to fall back on. Timely investments in agriculture and rural development can yield significant returns, says FAO, making rural communities better equipped to withstand the next disaster.

Diversifying crops

Smallholder farmers know that growing only one type of crop is a huge gamble, more so in the drylands as drought can wipe out an entire season. That is why FAO Ethiopia is helping farmers to diversify their crops, supporting the production and sale of quality seeds and planting materials for vegetables, fruit trees, cassava and sweet potatoes. Farmers can get more from their lands when using improved inputs and water technology. Add proper storage facilities and good market access and those bigger yields become a boon to farmers’ nutrition and incomes.

Promoting animal health and productivity

FAO is helping herders increase their production further by tackling constraints that affect the entire region such as the scarcity of water and pasture. It is supporting the local production of irrigated fodder and livestock feed supplements. It is also promoting animal health by assisting private veterinary pharmacies, which support networks of community animal health workers to carry out routine vaccination campaigns.

Building on local knowledge

FAO Ethiopia has adapted the farmer field school approach – billed as the “school without walls” – to introduce new techniques and practices to farmers and herders. These pastoral field schools, which rely on practical field demonstrations, local knowledge and experimentation, allow participants to share knowledge and experiences, find solutions to their problems and learn how to use limited natural resources more efficiently. The schools foster self-confidence and community spirit and are an excellent entry point for discussing other issues such as HIV prevention, nutrition and violence against women.


More about the country

 - The strongest El Niño weather episode in the last several decades has caused repeated crop failure, decimated herds of livestock and driven some 10.2 million people more
 - El Niño has had an extremely heavy impact on livestock and agriculture in Ethiopia. Shukri Ahmed gives dramatic figures on the consequences of the drought. He more
 - The strongest El Niño weather episode in the last several decades has caused repeated crop failure, decimated livestock herds and driven some 10.2 million people across more
 - To address the consequences of the global phenomenon of El Niño, FAO is moving forward on the development of response plans for emergency interventions, recovery and more
 - On 25 October, a FAO assessment team visited an internally displaced person camp not far from Dire Dawa in Ethiopia’s Somali Region to better understand how more
 - To improve household food and nutrition security and help drought and flood-affected smallholder farmers rebuild their livelihoods and build resilience against future shocks.
 - To build the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture through the development of standard training manuals on nutrition-sensitive agriculture and provision of trainings to agriculture development more
 - To improve food security, sustainable livelihood development and resilience of Afar Region pastoralists, agropastoralists and peri-urban communities through the promotion of appropriate technologies, livelihood diversification, capacity more
 - To strengthen Disaster Risk Management Agriculture Task Forces (DRM ATFs) in order to improve the management and coordination of agriculture- and livelihood-related disasters in Ethiopia.
 - To improve household food security through increased production and productivity of root and tuber crops of food-insecure households by means of distributing disease-free planting materials of more