Ethiopia

Feed the Future Ethiopia Farm Service Center Project

Overview:

The Feed the Future Ethiopia Farm Service Center Project (2015-2017), funded by USAID, provided technical support to the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) in establishing 19 Farm Service Centers (FSCs) throughout the Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR and Tigray regions of Ethiopia. This was a follow-on project to the successful USAID Commercial Farm Service Program, which piloted CNFA’s Farm Service Center model in Ethiopia.

Program Approach:

  1. Increasing Income and Access to Finance: CNFA’s Farm Service Center model is a market-based private sector model that applies matching grants and training methodology to establish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that deliver farm supplies and services. FSCs are often located in larger townships and serve as rural development centers that meet the needs of private farmers in their communities. These centers improve access to finance and increase sustainable income by providing a range of agricultural inputs, machinery services, veterinary services and products, marketing assistance for agricultural outputs, training and information and access to credit.
  2. Improving food security: The growing network of retail Farm Service Centers has a positive impact on thousands of smallholder farmers across Ethiopia and increases the viability and food security of the entire region. Additionally, ATA’s monitoring and evaluation information systems ensure that the full impact of this transformation is captured as data and can be leveraged to continually integrate lessons learned.
  3. Promoting gender equality: The project ensured that gender integration and environmental mitigation measures were fully incorporated in the roll-out of all new Farm Service Centers.
"My center not only provides farmers with affordable, quality agricultural products, but we also train and consult with farmers on how to properly use these tools. For example, we offer personal protective equipment so farmers can safely administer crop protection products, like herbicides, on their crops. For those farmers who can’t afford to buy this equipment, we send service providers to their farms to spray their plants for them."

- Farm Service Center Owner

"Becoming the first female farm service center owner brought a new set of challenges. Unfortunately, many of these hurdles stem from a lingering perception in Ethiopia that women are not as capable as men at running a big business. These stereotypes are shifting, and I’m grateful that USAID gave me the chance to prove my skills as a woman entrepreneur."

- Adanech Zewdie