Factors that transformed maize productivity in Ethiopia uri icon

abstract

  • Maize became increasingly important in the food security of Ethiopia following the major drought and famine that occurred in 1984. More than 9 million smallholder households, more than for any other crop in the country, grow maize in Ethiopia at present. Ethiopia has doubled its maize productivity and production in less than two decades. The yield, currently estimated at > 3 metric tons/ha, is the second highest in Sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa; yield gains for Ethiopia grew at an annual rate of 68 kg/ha between 1990 and 2013, only second to South Africa and greater than Mexico, China, or India. The maize area covered by improved varieties in Ethiopia grew from 14 % in 2004 to 40 % in 2013, and the application rate of mineral fertilizers from 16 to 34 kg/ha during the same period. Ethiopia's extension worker to farmer ratio is 1:476, compared to 1:1000 for Kenya, 1:1603 for Malawi and 1:2500 for Tanzania. Increased use of improved maize varieties and mineral fertilizers, coupled with increased extension services and the absence of devastating droughts are the key factors promoting the accelerated growth in maize productivity in Ethiopia. Ethiopia took a homegrown solutions approach to the research and development of its maize and other commodities. The lesson from Ethiopia's experience with maize is that sustained investment in agricultural research and development and policy support by the national government are crucial for continued growth of agriculture.

publication date

  • 2015
  • 2015
  • 2015