ETH Country Report 2021 Blog Post


The 2021 TASAI Ethiopia Country Report summarizes the findings of the TASAI study conducted in Ethiopia in 2021 by the TASAI team and a local seed industry expert. The results highlight several positive developments since the last TASAI study in 2017. While Ethiopia is in the early growth stage of seed sector development, the country has taken steps to make quality seed more accessible to smallholder farmers. 


In Ethiopia, public organizations continue to play a critical role in seed sector research and development, variety development, and production. For example, all of the country’s breeders work in the country’s public research institutes and public universities. Moreover, the level of seed sector industry competitiveness in Ethiopia remains low and, compared to other African countries, women in Ethiopia are less represented as seed company managers and business owners. Under Ethiopia’s evolving seed policy environment, Ethiopia has a comprehensive seed strategy through which seed sector development can be guided, though implementation is lacking in certain areas. The country’s variety release process has not yet been harmonized with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) seed trade regulations. Furthermore, Distinctiveness, Uniformity, and Stability (DUS) tests have not yet been carried out.  


Even though institutional support for Ethiopia’s seed sector is weak, the Ethiopian Seed Association (ESA) is working with different development partners to improve its member representation, its visibility, and its contribution to the seed sector. Similarly, programs like the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) are piloting innovative digital tools to strengthen the country’s extension services. Seed producers’ level of satisfaction with the Ethiopia’s agro-dealer network has improved since 2017. These improvements are partly driven by the country’s institutional shift towards multiple channels of producers under the Direct Seed Marketing (DSM) approach. Still, services to smallholder famers in Ethiopia rely heavily on the public sector entities that are under-resourced. Like many of its African counterparts, Ethiopia can gain from increasing the private sector’s role in the formal seed market. 


The report was published following a successful dissemination meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on February 16, 2022, where the findings were validated and discussed by members of Ethiopia’s public and private seed sectors.