FAO/Israel Klug

Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, showing remarkable economic growth in the last 5 years. Nonetheless, challenges remain, as the country is still one of the world’s least developed, ranked 174 out of 187 in the 2011 UNDP Human Development Index. With about 30% of the population living under the poverty line, the country has a prevalence of undernourished people at 40% of the population, which means 34 million Ethiopians are somewhat food insecure. Ethiopia has the second largest population in Africa and is forecast to pass Nigeria as the most populous country by 2030, having an estimated 83% of its 84 million people living in rural areas, the most poverty stricken ones.


Key Statistics
Country area: 110430 (1000 Ha)
Land area: 100000 (1000 Ha)
Agricultural area: 34985 (1000 Ha)
Population (Est.): 885356 (1000)

GDP: 29717 (millions of US dollars)

Human Development index: 0,328
Global Hunger Index: 28,7
Source: FAO Country Profile, 2013











Food and Nutrition Security

Ethiopia is a predominantly rural country, with rain-fed agriculture as the essential form of production, making its food security situation largely vulnerable to climatic conditions, which is aggravated by insufficient infrastructure and institutional conditions to improve livelihoods in the country. In 2012, the country ranked 76th out of 79 countries in the Global Hunger Index and according to WFP the number of acutely food insecure people now reaches at 3.7 million, with two regions being the most severely affected, Somalia and Oromia.

Family farming

The agriculture sector plays a central role in the life and livelihoods of most Ethiopians, where about 12 million smallholder farming households account for an estimated 95 percent of agriculture production and 85 percent of all employment. Of the total number of farmer households, 18% are women-headed.  Moreover, 36% of farming households operate on less than 0.5 hectares and 60% on less than 1 hectare. Despite the production challenges, agriculture accounts for 43% of the GDP and 90% of the exports, dominated by cereals, which the estimated production in 2011 was 18.8 metric tonnes. Official figures for the livestock sector estimate that livestock production accounts for about 32% of Agriculture GDP. However, research carried out by FAO and IFAD suggests that the real figure is believed to be closer to 45% of the agriculture GDP. At present only about 25 per cent of its arable land is cultivated, and agriculture is dominated by subsistence rainfed farming, using few inputs and characterized by low productivity.

School Feeding

There are 4.6 million primary school age children living in areas characterized by chronic food insecurity and consequently believed to attend school hungry across Ethiopia. Currently, 2.8 million school age children do not attend school in Ethiopia. Since 1994 WFP attends to six regional states covering 680 thousand students in 1,187 schools. In 2012, the government and WFP have taken up a pilot project for Home Grown School Feeding, to which PAA Africa has been contributed by targeting farmers from the region where the pilot is taking place and providing training and technical assistance to them. The government has recognized the importance of school feeding programmes to improve both education and food security, and has incorporated this aspect as a strategy to increase access to education for children in some of tis main development policies.

PAA Africa Activities


Activities are currently being implemented in the districts of Boricha and Darra, in the SNNP Region. The project will benefit 1600 household farmers through the distribution of seeds and fertilizers as well as trainings on haricot bean production and follow up on farmers’ production. Links have been established with primary cooperatives, Boricha Women’s Processing Cooperative and the Sidama Elto Cooperative Union for the local and direct procurement of food from targeted farmers. The local partnership will benefit approximately 8700 students during the school year 2012-2013, with the provision of haricot blended maize daily meals in seven schools. A thousand farmers have benefited from training on bean production so far as well as school officials and government technicians, who engaged on capacity building on planting techniques, crop treatment, post-harvest, leadership and associativism.

The long-term goal of the intervention is to contribute to farmers’ food security and income generation by promoting farmer-led seed production, and to the sustainability of school meal programmes through cost-effective home grown school feeding. The projects in Ethiopia have highlighted the importance of social participation, capacity building and of providing access to inputs. All farmers who benefited from the project were selected based on agreed criteria and with broad community engagement, and received high quality seeds that are not accessible in local markets, which will make a sensible difference on the amount and quality of output to be purchased. Continuous support, through training sessions that take into account a participatory methodology are essential to the progress of the project, and have been highlighted by local extension workers as positive.
Brazilian technical support for assessing potentials and developing a strategy to strengthen local procurement for school meals has been provided by an international consultant. The work was developed in collaboration with the Project partners at the country level.

Operational Component


Activities Planned

•    identify vulnerable farmers, particularly women-headed households, securing starter seed packages for selected women smallholder farmers’ groups from the ESE and related Regional Seed Enterprises and research centres;
•    organize trainings for women smallholder farmers and extension agents in appropriate crop management and post-harvest techniques;
•    provide temporary storage facilities to the Cooperative Union and support them in constructing their own warehouses in the long term;
•    establish links between the cooperative unions and the Bureau of Education in order to secure stable demand at fair prices for farmers;
•    distribute the purchased beans to local school feeding programmes, providing a mid-morning meal prepared from maize and haricot bean powder, oil and salt to primary school children;
•    support targeted schools, providing training and non-food items, including fuel-efficient stoves
•    provide technical and financial support to strengthen the policy basis for the home grown school feeding programme and ensure government ownership of the programme, facilitating the establishment of a multisectoral coordination mechanism.

Target Area: Southern (Boricha woreda, Sidama zone)

Captura de Tela 2013-04-17 às 10.01.38


•    1600 households farmers
•    7 schools
•    8700 students

PAA Africa pilot in Ethiopia at a Glance

Geographical area   

Southern: SNNPR (Sidama and Boricha)


Haricot beans seeds multiplication


1,600 household farmers

8 700 students

7 schools


Funds decentralized to the regional office of the Ministry of Education.

School feeding

School year 2012- 2013: haricot blended maize daily meals.


FAO Ethiopia Country Profile

Country Profile: Human Development Indicators

World Bank Page: Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s profile on the Rural Poverty Portal

Our Partners in Ethiopia

Purchase for Progress (P4P) projects in Ethiopia

FAO list of projects in Ethiopia

DFID’s work in Ethiopia