Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA)
Agriculture is the backbone of Ethiopia’s economy and the livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations. Increased growth is essential to realize the interconnected goals of food security, poverty reduction, and human and economic development. To support this growth, the Government of Ethiopia established the ATA to serve as a catalyst for transformational and sustainable change.
The Ethiopian Agriculture Transformation Agency (the Agency or ATA) is an initiative of the Government of Ethiopia (GOE) established in 2010. The primary aim of the Agency is to promote agricultural sector transformation by supporting existing structures of government, private sector and other non-governmental partners to address systemic bottlenecks in delivering on a priority national agenda for achieving growth and food security.
The Agency’s formation results from two years of extensive diagnostic study across eight sub-sectors of Ethiopia’s agricultural system in a highly consultative, multi-stakeholder process led by the Ministry of Agriculture. It has been modeled after similar public-sector bodies in Asia (i.e. Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, etc.) that played important roles in the growth of those national economies. The Agency’s structure and function is focused on support to a range of partners in the agricultural sector. More specifically, the Agency has been created to respond to a core set of needs identified by the Ministry of Agriculture and its governing Transformation Council. Although it is a nationally oriented organization, in the initial stage of its work, the Agency will focus its efforts both programmatically and geographically. The ATA will be financed by GOE and also supported by a range of development partners. The ATA is headquartered in Addis Ababa.
Programmatically, the Agency will seek to identify solutions in systemic bottlenecks in both key system areas and value chains of priority cropping systems. The initial focus within the Systems Programs will be the seed sector, soil health and fertility management, cooperatives, input/output markets and extension and research. The value chains that have been identified as the core areas of focus initially are tef, maize, wheat and pulses. In the near future the Agency will expand its work to oil seeds and rice and further in the future will begin work in the livestock sector. Solution development in these program areas will also be informed by work done in the Agency’s Special Initiatives group. This cross cutting group will ensure that the solutions developed within the other program areas are leveraging the most appropriate technologies for Ethiopia and do not have any unintended consequences. Key aspects of this Special Initiatives group include:
Technology Access and Adoption
Climate Change Adaptation/Environmental Sustainability and Monitoring
Learning and Evaluation
The Agriculture Transformation Agency will prioritize its program efforts both among and within programs. Organizationally, the ATA’s program work will focus on Value Chains and Systems – which will be supported by a set of cross-cutting Initiatives.
Value-chains are the crop and livestock products that are critical to increase the productivity of smallholder farmers and pastoralists.
Systems are the building blocks which enable small producers enabling to adopt improved technologies, strengthen their agronomic practices and access markets for surplus production to achieve household food security and increased incomes.
Within these broad areas, the Agency has begun to create priorities for where it will spend its greatest effort during the initial years of operations. Each program team will seek to identify high impact interventions with the potential to make the greatest impact in addressing systemic bottlenecks.