In 2009, at the request of the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Meles Zenawi, IFPRI formed a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Ethiopia’s agricultural sector and make recommendations for nation-wide strategies to achieve agricultural growth. The Research for Ethiopia’s Agriculture Policy program, or REAP, conducted a series of eight in-depth diagnostic studies of important sub-sectors of Ethiopian agriculture. These included three studies on the input markets (seed system, irrigation, and soil fertility), three studies on the output markets (maize, livestock, and pulses), and a cross-cutting study on agricultural finance. Several national and international organizations, academic institutions, and CGIAR centers provided inputs in producing these reports, including the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), two CGIAR centers (ILRI and IWMI), the University of Illinois, and McKinsey Inc. The studies were then combined into a synthesis report that recommended national strategies for agricultural growth, chief among them the creation of an agricultural transformation agency to test and implement new policies. This agency, the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency or ATA, was created in 2010 and is the first agency of its kind in Africa.
The ATA works with a wide range of stakeholders, including various government ministries, development partners, civil society groups, and private sector representatives to coordinate collaborative development plans and create a program that fully addresses the systemic issues that plague Ethiopia’s agricultural sector.