President, European Ambassadors Launch Landmark Agricultural Commercialization Clusters

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ENA November 28/2019 The milestone Agricultural Commercialization Clusters (ACC) program aimed at boosting the historically low yields of Ethiopian smallholder farmers by organizing them into crop-specific clusters was formally launched today.

President Sahlework Zewdie and European ambassadors launched the program at a ceremony held at UNECA Complex in Addis Ababa.

The Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) initiative, which passed the last two years undergoing testing and ramping up the clustering approach on farmland throughout the country, has now 1.3 million farmers organized in 30,000 clusters across Ethiopia.

The initiative was implemented as a pilot project in specializing in priority commodities  across the four major agricultural regional states, Oromia, Amhara, Tigray and SNNPR.

President Sahilework commended the Agricultural Commercialization Clusters (ACC) program and the achievements it has registered as well as the promise it holds for the future transformation of the agricultural sector in Ethiopia.

“ACC is an impactful, market-driven and value chain approach led by the Government of Ethiopia that will contribute to the transformation of agriculture and improvement of the livelihoods of Ethiopian farmers,” she said.

The president also urged the initiative to be inclusive and sustainable and called on implementers to intentionally promote the participation of women and youth in leadership roles.

Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), Chief Executive Officer Kalid Bomba told ENA that the Agricultural Commercialization Clusters program has included over five million additional farmers by allocating 378 million US dollars.

Noting that ACC has prioritized high potential geographies and commodity value chains, he stated that it will be implemented in 300 selected woredas grouped into 31 crop clusters during the period between 2019/20 and 2023/24.

“The farmer clusters are growing Ethiopia’s main food and cash crops, including maize, wheat, teff and sesame,” according to the CEO.

The ACC is in large part funded by the European Union and its member States, with major contributions from Denmark with 47 million Euros, the Netherlands with 42.5 million Euros, and the European Union with 10 million Euros, it was learned.

Following the launching of ACC initiative, the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency signed 115 million USD assistance with the European Union (EU), the government of Denmark and Netherlands.

Cooperation Head at the Netherlands Embassy, Thijs Woudstra said on his part “we support ATA because we believe in the inclusive growth potential of Ethiopian agriculture. The ACC approach taken by ATA and supported by the Ministry of Agriculture is, in our opinion, one of the best solutions for agricultural transformation.”

EU Ambassador Johan Borgstam said, “The crops grown in the clusters will be a major source of quality raw materials for food production in Ethiopia’s agro-industrial parks, which will create thousands of decent new jobs for rural youth, especially women.”  

The Agricultural Commercialization Clusters (ACC) is a five-year agricultural initiative geared towards integrating the priority areas in the agricultural sector within specific geographies targeting a limited number of high-value commodities.