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ETCANSOL – Transfer of Soil Science Technologies for Enhancing Food Security, Rural Development and Environmental Quality in Ethiopia



Agricultural Institute of Canada
Canadian Society of Soil Science
Ethiopian Society of Soil Science


Canada Coordinators – Dr. Samuel Gameda and Robert Eilers
Ethopian Coordinators – Drs. Zebene Mikru and Teklu Erkossa


  • Conduct an organizational assessment of ESSS to determine the focus areas for organizational improvement over the next five years and incorporate these into the annual plans of ESSS.
  • Strengthen the capacity of ESSS to carry out its mandate to members.
  • Organize a national review workshop on soil science and water management resources.

Geographic Focus Area: National

Agriculture is the mainstay of the Ethiopian economy contributing about 50% of the GDP and employing nearly 80% of the economically active population of the country. Some 87% of the rural population depends on agriculture for their livelihood, yet the growth in agriculture was only 3.1% from 1993 to 2001. This meager economic growth is challenged by a fast growing population, which was estimated at 77 million in 2007, is increasing by 2.7% annually, and will be approaching 83 million by 2011. If this trend continues unabated and appropriate technologies are not used to offset the effects, the sustainability of the natural resource base and the country’s efforts to attain national food security will be jeopardized.

Securing food and livelihood is strongly linked to the exploitation of the natural resource base in poor countries like Ethiopia. The rampant land degradation and decline of its productivity, and the continually diminishing land holding per household are among the underlying reasons for poverty, food and human needs insecurity, and increased vulnerability to drought in the country. Cognizant of this, the government has designed a strategy of Agricultural Development-Led Industrialization (ADLI), which focuses on improvement of the productivity of smallholder agriculture with the intent of transforming it from a subsistent basis to a body that contributes, and is responsive, to market forces. Among the major pillars of ADLI is the development and diffusion of appropriate technologies to attain food self-sufficiency, reverse ecological degradation, and raise the competitive advantage of the country’s agriculture.

While tremendous achievements are reported due to the use of improved technologies and management practices, there are still outstanding areas of intervention for which research outputs are seriously required. With regard to soil science related technologies, there is over half a century of results from research by various national and international organizations that could assist in alleviating land use problems, but there is no mechanism for coordinating the efforts or disbursing the research results to make them available to extension agents and farmers. For many years the Ethiopian Society of Soil Science (ESSS) has been attempting to facilitate the compilation and dissemination of such information through proceedings of regular bi-annual workshops and a scientific journal.

This project, called ETCANSOL, will support the capacity building endeavours of ESSS to play its role in facilitating the compilation and transfer of soil management technologies and contribute to the country’s efforts towards food security and accelerated agricultural development. In addition to strengthening the capacity of ESSS, the project will facilitate a national workshop to collect, collate and review existing information to establish a base from which to develop and disseminate appropriate information to farmers, extension officers and policy makers.

Complete project results are presented in the Final Report for the AIC International Twinning Partnership Program, pages 41 to 45.

AIC’s International Twinning Partnership Program (ITPP) provides opportunities for Canadian Member Organizations to work cooperatively and share expertise with developing country partner organizations through long-term partnerships. The ITPP promotes technological and scientific innovations in agricultural practices that are environmentally viable and sustainable, and develops increased awareness and understanding of international development among AIC Member Organizations. This Program is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).