DuPont leaders today joined public and private sector representatives during U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Ethiopia to learn more about the impact of U.S. collaborations with local partners under the U.S. Government's Feed the Future Initiative. This initiative focuses on accelerating agricultural development as an engine of broad-based economic growth in the region.
DuPont, a global science company, has been working for more than 15 years in Ethiopia to promote farmer productivity, agricultural system infrastructure improvements, and food and nutrition security.
"Through science and engineering, we are working to solve some of the world's greatest challenges, "said Matthias Heinzel, President of DuPont Nutrition & Health. "We are dedicated to improving food and nutrition security around the world with innovative science and application expertise."
Improving Nutrition in Ethiopia
Ethiopia has a population of over 80 million and thus has a strong nutritional need for high quality, sustainable protein foods. To address this need, DuPont collaborated with FAFFA Foods, to introduce Saba Soya Milk in 2011.
"Our collaboration with FAFFA Foods is a great example of products meeting local needs," said Heinzel. "Using DuPont Supro soy protein for Soya milk, FAFFA Foods was able to introduce a nutrient-rich protein to Ethiopia as part of a solution to help boost nutrition content in local diets."
Increasing Farmer and Agricultural Productivity
There is a significant need to increase food productivity in Ethiopia. Maize is one of Ethiopia's most important cereals in terms of production; grown by about 8 million farmers. A primary challenge of the Ethiopian maize value chain is access to quality improved maize seeds, which substantially impacts the productivity of smallholders.
Ethiopia currently has an average maize yield of about 2.2 metric tons per hectare, while the U.S. yields about 10 tons per hectare.
As part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a shared commitment among African governments and development partners to significantly expand responsible private-sector investment in African agriculture and nutrition, DuPont collaborated with the U.S. Agency for International Development through Feed the Future, the Government of Ethiopia, and other organizations to develop the Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Program (AMSAP).
The program aims to increase the productivity of smallholder farmers by giving them new, high-quality options for maize seeds as well as improving seed distribution and post-harvest storage. Much of the corn grown under this partnership goes directly into Faffa's Corn Soy Blend product.
"Our partnership with DuPont, in support of the Government of Ethiopia's priorities for improved food security, has helped make significant improvements in the agriculture sector that translate to positive outcomes for smallholder farmers," said Tjada McKenna, Deputy Coordinator of the Feed the Future initiative.
Close to 10,000 smallholder maize farmers have benefited from agronomic education and training. 40 000 farmers have improved access to agricultural inputs such as hybrid seed varieties.
These farmers also increased their yields from 2.2 metric tons per hectare to 7 metric tons per hectare and increased incomes by an average of 20 percent. More than 30 agronomists are engaged in delivering training to farmers and 54 local retailers have been fully enabled to distribute seed to farmers.
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