Amhara / ASSP / Capacity Strengthening / CapDev / Countries / DFATD / East Africa / Ethiopia / Extension / ILRI / LIVES / LIVESTOCK-FISH / Oromia / SNNPR / Subregions / Tigray

Building capacity in Ethiopian value chain actors

Practical training session for producers and development agents on fruit grafting techniques at Melkassa Agricultural Research Center

Practical training session for producers and development agents on fruit grafting techniques at Melkassa Agricultural Research Centre (photo by ILRI)

Market-oriented development is a relatively new strategy in Ethiopia and a lot of work is needed to help transform the country’s agricultural sector. As part of this process, the capacity development pillar of the Livestock and Irrigation Value Chains for Ethiopian Smallholders (LIVES) project have undertaken to strengthen innovation and the learning capacity of value chain actors and service providers to develop livestock and irrigation agriculture value chains.

Between April 2013 and March 2015, LIVES has trained and coached 17,202 (41% female) producers, 5,729 (78% female) input/service providers, and 717 (67% female) processing and marketing businesses.

The ILRI capacity development brief 7, Capacity development in the LIVES Ethiopia project, examines three aspects of this issue in Ethiopia: training and coaching value chain actors and service providers; LIVES capacity development scaling out strategy; and capacity development of public sector staff.

Using participatory processes to assess knowledge and skills gaps of value chain actors and service providers, LIVES staff identify capacity development interventions. Project staff then design and implement these interventions using a range of strategies, including training, coaching and mentoring, and training coupled with coaching and mentoring. The sequence and combination of learning activities depend on specific situations.

Innovation capacity development is crucial for value chain actors and service providers to gain knowledge and insights into the commercial system in which they engage. It also develops skills to analyse challenges and opportunities, and create market linkages. Between April 2013 and March 2015, LIVES has trained and coached 17,202 (41% female) producers, 5,729 (78% female) input/service providers, and 717 (67% female) processing and marketing businesses.

However, coaching and mentoring cannot be provided to all producers as not all of them adopt a market-orientated approach to production. Therefore, LIVES identified a few market-oriented input and output producers who had the skills, an entrepreneurial mind-set and resources, and showcased them as demonstration households. The project forms extension circles of trained and coached producers designed to facilitate the spontaneous dissemination and scaling out of knowledge and skills within and beyond project districts. In addition, LIVES develops learning materials to support self-learning of market-oriented producers and service providers.

Strengthening research and development partners through graduate training and research is a significant capacity development intervention of the LIVES project. Institutionalization of a value chain development approach within the public sector requires a critical mass of trained individuals who will champion implementation and scaling out. To date LIVES has supported value chain-based graduate training and research of about 200 public sector staff.

Consequently, intervention households have adopted a number of improved livestock and irrigation value chain practices, which has had a strong demonstration effect on other producers. A number of input/service providers—such as grafted seedling producers—have started to provide inputs/services to intervention and domain households. Study tours and training events have enabled public extension services to scale out value chain development interventions within and beyond the project intervention peasant associations and districts.

For more information, see ILRI capacity development brief 7, Capacity development in the LIVES Ethiopia project

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