Enhancing Employability and Food Security in Ethiopia


The Bright Future in Agriculture project started 2021 with its annual review and planning conference in Addis Ababa spanning two days (26-27th January). This event brought a variety of organisations (public, private, and academic) together and included virtual participation for the international experts and project director, Dr. Huub Mudde. A summary of the previous year’s activities was made and the projects’ next steps were discussed. Several group work sessions were conducted, as well as multiple presentations spanning the subjects of gender, the sub-sectors (dairy and horticulture), student internships, skill development, and stakeholder involvement. Overall, future plans were met with enthusiasm and a willingness to commit by all those present.

Following this, during the months of March and April, all three of BFA’s Triple Helix platforms conducted a third platform meeting. On March 19th, the Arba Minch platform workshop was held. Platform turnout was good, with most partners sending a representative. However, some organisations sent an individual who, up until this point, had not been involved with the triple-helix, so a quick recap of the core principles was required. The partners discussed the three selected technologies (harvesting technology, ripening technology, and collapsible crates), and identified existing local initiatives and where they fell short. An action plan has been created, outlining the timeline for the development, prototyping and testing of technologies, leveraging the partners’ respective capabilities. Within this action plan, the procedure for a more regular follow-up has also been outlined, as it was found that the partners required more guidance from the project management in their activities.

A smaller meeting was held on April 9th with the key stakeholders from the Bako Horticulture Platform, namely the TVET College, Ambo University, the agricultural research centres, and private farm, Gadisa Gobena. This meeting was held to manage stakeholder expectations, as well as discussing a shift of focus from the production of improved seed to the production of improved seedlings. It was agreed that providing a seedling supply would better meet local horticulture farmers’ needs, as they provide more reliable improved yields. The project will keep its micro-franchise approach of capacitating graduates to produce seedlings and the platform is now looking into investing in a demonstration greenhouse for training, research, and production purposes. An action plan has been outlined and the five main stakeholders have formed a committee aimed at identifying the ideal host location for the greenhouse (and the graduate trainees) based on a set of criteria agreed upon at the meeting, as well as coming up with an investment plan. The week of May 26th, a number of experience visits took place to observe the production facilities of established seedling farms. Four locations were visited in total: Ethio Vegferu PLC, Flora- Veg PLC, Agriflora PLC, and Florensis Absinia Farm (which is a Dutch company operating in Ethiopia).

Finally, the Bahir Dar Dairy platform meeting took place on April 21st. The project management has been in contact with various suppliers of micro-dairy technology and presented their proposed choice to the partners. There were some concerns regarding the price of the technology, but it was clarified that the project-funded imported technology will be used for training and research purposes, and to replicate the technology locally, which will provide a cheaper option to local farmers. It has also been decided that the imported micro-processor will be housed at the Woreta college, as this location is most suited to the technology’s requirements (clean room, access to water and electricity, etc.).

The results of the Labour Market Needs Assessment (LMNA) study were presented by Ms. Olivia Ansenk from Q-Point Consultancy at a 2-day event (4th-5th March) in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. At this event, the 7 TVET colleges discussed the identified skills gaps in graduates and how they can better serve the dairy and horticulture labour markets.

Additionally, the BFA Award business competition is in full swing. The students’ proposals have been received and the TVET colleges are selecting their top two submissions for dairy and horticulture innovations to move onto the next round. These individuals will receive coaching from the Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) to help further develop their ideas and prepare them for their presentations to a panel of carefully selected judges relevant to the industries.

Also in full swing are the student tracer and employer satisfaction studies. The data for the tracer study has been collected from the colleges and a report is being prepared. The collection of data for the employer satisfaction survey has begun.

Despite the restrictions implied by the pandemic, numerous training programs have been able to go ahead using online mediums. Most recent was Mr. David Dingli’s Business Plan training program, which is a part of the Entrepreneurship training package. Participants attended in Addis Ababa, while Mr. David Dingli hosted the session virtually. The final entrepreneurship training (Business Development) will conclude on May 11th for six of the seven TVET colleges. Kombolcha TVET College will have an additional training program linked to their work with internally displaced persons (IDP).  Also recently completed was Dr. Stephanie Jones’s Communication, Teamwork, and Teambuilding program, which piloted an asynchronous training method. This set-up had Dr. Stephanie Jones providing recorded lectures three times a week, coupled with downloadable content containing relevant readings and assignment details.

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About the project
Bright Future in Agriculture (BFA) is a three-year project managed by Maastricht School of Management (MSM) in support of the Ethiopian agricultural vocational education sector that runs from January 2019 to 2021. The main contribution of the project will be on creating more opportunities for (youth) employment and hence improved business and value chains in the horticultural and dairy sub-sectors.

Orange Knowledge Programme
This project is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic. For more information click here.

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