Africa’s agricultural footprint massively impacts the social and economic sectors across the continent. The agriculture sector employs the majority of the population and accounts for 14% of the GDP in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Pharo Foundation believes Africa’s economic development can be realised faster with the transformation of its agriculture sector. To this effect, the Foundation works with smallholder farmers, social entrepreneurs and the private sector to improve access to farm inputs, better techniques, as well as market and financial services. This will lead to improved livelihoods, increased income, diversification of income sources, and food security.
Ethiopia’s agriculture sector accounts for 40% of the GDP, 80% of exports, and an estimated 75% of the country’s workforce. Agriculture is the backbone of the Ethiopian economy the sector is dominated by small-scale farmers responsible for the majority of the total agricultural output. Approximately 67% of Ethiopians are engaged in agriculture, mainly in subsistence farming and livestock production. Despite Ethiopia being endowed with abundant agricultural resources, there are priority interventions needed to increase the productivity of smallholder farms, an area the Foundation is focusing on.
In Ethiopia and particularly the Benishangul- Gumuz Regional State (BGRS), the Foundation is working to diversify livelihood options, increase agricultural productivity, and increase household income. The programme includes advancing good agricultural practices through the establishment of farmers’ training centres and field extension services. Additionally, we focus on improving access to farm inputs and output markets by introducing improved seeds and animal breeds. The foundation has so far established 4 Pharo farmers’ training centres in BGRS targeting approximately 6,400 farmers engaged in crop production, bee keeping, poultry, goat and sheep rearing.
Somaliland’s agriculture contribution to the GDP is approximately 15% and is considered one of the most important economic activities in the country. About 85% of the population are agro-pastoralists, and the agricultural system in Somaliland is predominantly subsistence in nature, thereby characterised by low input and output. Like many arid and semi-arid regions, recurrent drought and erratic rainfall makes agriculture challenging in Somaliland.
The Foundation’s approach focuses on improving agricultural techniques and inputs to ultimately increase output, as well as focus on capturing rainwater for irrigation farming. We also introduced drip irrigation systems in two villages, one of the first in the country, along with training such as climate-smart agriculture for farmers.
In Somaliland, we built soil bunds for over 1,000 farmers helping to improve productivity and enhance soil conservation. Additionally, The Pharo Foundation recently launched two agricultural projects in July and August 2022 in two areas, Jaleelo and Awbarkhadle. The projects aim to boost agricultural and livestock productivity by 37% and 57%, respectively, in order to generate a 39% increase in household income.
Further, the Foundation identified a demonstration farm with water access for each of the communities to serve as a teaching centre for the farmers. These initiatives will foster good agricultural practices enabling access to high-quality farm supplies, improved animal health services, better water and energy saving irrigation methods, as well as increased access to finance and marketing.