Who we are
Homegrown Vision is a non-profit, independent think tank group that is conceived, initiated and run by Ethiopian professionals. The Leadership Team consists of experts in agricultural research and development, and education with a wide range of long time, rich, impactful international, regional, and national experience and expertise in various disciplines. These are people motivated by their strong desire and commitment to bringing about sustainable positive change to their country.
Ethiopians cannot remain junior partners with the international development community in agricultural research and development initiatives, as has been the case for the most part over the last several decades. It follows, then, that future AR&D (agricultural research and development) efforts by development partners need to focus on empowering Ethiopians to take the leadership for their own development agenda.
Ethiopia’s population is projected to reach more than 205 million by 2050. Urban population would overtake rural population by the early 2040s. This has huge implications on food security and economic development strategies by policy makers in this country.
Ethiopia is faced with the dual challenges of ensuring food security and economic wellbeing for its ever rapidly growing population while at the same time maintaining the integrity of its natural resources. Agriculture is at the center of both food security and economic development in this country, as it is in many others on the continent. The Covid-19 pandemic is expected to exacerbate the current situation, but Ethiopia can use this as an opportunity to follow a different path to modernize its agriculture.
This country possesses huge potential assets to develop its agriculture, including a wide range of agro-ecologies and climate that enable it to grow various crop species, a well-developed agricultural research system, a large pool of experienced expertise both within and outside the country that can be tapped into. However, the country has long suffered from food shortages in spite of the huge potential it is endowed with. Its import bills for cereals (mostly wheat) and cooking oils are estimated at approximately US$ 1.3 billion per annum.
A reasonable volume of improved technological advances, knowledge, and experience (enough to make a difference on Ethiopian agriculture, if properly applied) exist. This country has made significant progress in improving the productivity of cereals and some grain legumes but no such advances have been made in terms of other crops – particularly root and tuber crops, and oilseeds – mainly because of low priority given to their research and development. Ample opportunities exist for making significant improvements on these and many other crops and livestock.
The good practices obtained with cereals and grain legumes in Ethiopia are the result of the national research system that has advocated a homegrown and systems approach and strong government support for its agricultural research and development. This means that the key to agricultural development in Ethiopia resides with Ethiopians – whether they are scientists, policy makers, development agencies or champions of quality education. Ethiopians need to have a strong voice in their agricultural development; they ought to be trusted and allowed to learn from failures if this country is to achieve accelerated and sustained agricultural and hence economic development.
Like many of its peers in Africa, Ethiopia aims to go beyond food security; it wants to achieve food sovereignty, neither of which could be achieved unless it seeks homegrown solutions. It is with this background in mind that we have formed Homegrown Vision, an independent think tank (non-profit) group.