Department of Horticulture

Background

Ethiopia is predominantly an agrarian country where about 85% of its population is engaged directly or indirectly in agriculture. As in many developing countries in Africa and elsewhere, agriculture plays a key role in Ethiopia’s economy and the livelihood of its people. It contributes to almost half of the GDP, employs about 85% of the labor force, accounts for about 90% of the foreign exchange earnings, and provides livelihood to over 90% of the population (CIDA, 2004). Obviously, the country's future development heavily relies on the efficient and effective mobilization and utilization of agricultural resources. For several years, the rate of population growth has exceeded by far more than the rate of growth of agricultural production. As a result of this, our country, Ethiopia is facing low productivity of crops mainly due to traditional production systems. On the contrary, the rate of population growth is by far more than the rate of growth of agricultural production which leads to a recurring shortage of food and malnutrition.

There is a growing trend of awareness of the need to evolve a sustainable agricultural system in Ethiopia; while fostering food security without endangering the fragile environment or unduly exploiting the natural resource base on which agriculture depends heavily. Recent changes in government economic policy as articulated in the programmes; Agricultural Development Led Industrialization policy (ADLI) and a Plan for Accelerated and Sustainable Development to End Poverty 2006-2010 (PASDEP) serves as the necessary institutional platform and a fillip towards rapid, sustainable growth and development in the agricultural sector.Seemore