Eritrea – Ireland Climate Resilient Agriculture Partnership Programme 2017-2021
Workshop in Asmara, Eritrea - 14-15 November 2016
Following exchange visits between the Director of Teagasc and the Eritrean Minister of Agriculture, a five-year partnership agreement was signed in July 2016 which sets the framework for enhanced partnership in the 2017-21 period. As a follow up, Teagasc along with Gorta SHA and Vita, and in association with the Ministry of Agriculture, Eritrea, organised a two-day workshop in Asmara from 14-15 November 2016. The workshop participants agreed on a new expanded programme for the five year period 2017-2021.
Expanding on successful pilot work on potato and dairy value chains, as well as household energy and water provision, the Programme will integrate smallholder farmer development with institutional technical assistance and will cover three broad areas:
- Food Security and Climate Resilience for Smallholders
- Development of Agri-Business and Value Chains
- Institutional Partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture focused on Extension and Research applying the Teagasc model.
The overall Goal to which the Programme contributes is to reduce poverty and build economic opportunity in rural Eritrea. The Outcome of the Programme is for smallholder farmers and rural households to improve resilience to climate shocks through food, nutrition and income security.
Three high-level result areas underpin this outcome:
1. Improved production, dietary diversity, health and returns from smallholder households and enterprises via:
- Livestock and Livestock Product Development via investments in breeding, feeding regimes, animal health services and upgrading the milk, meat and hide value chains.
- Crop and Crop Product Improvement (food and cash crops) through access to improved seed (potato, oil seeds, sorghum) via community-based seed enterprises working closely with research centres, promotion and application of improved agronomic practices, and better post-harvest handling (processing and storage).
- Climate Smart Farming Systems, which support smallholder farming by improving access to services (crop/livestock inputs, mechanisation, financial products – credit/insurance, training and extension, market information, purchase of farm produce etc.) that increase production and productivity and returns to labour thus making farming and the provision of farm services a more attractive livelihood for all, especially youth and women. Technical support for the Minimum Household Package which is a new Government initiative promoting self-reliance in households through integrated provision of livestock, multi-purpose trees, energy and water.
- Climate adaption and mitigation actions including household energy and water, management and improvement of natural resources (soil, water and ecosystem services) through integrated landscape management to enhance and protect environmental services at the farm and small-scale watershed level. In these “Green Zones” physical structures (terracing, trenches, soil banks, check dams), afforestation and re-vegetation to reduce land degradation, and irrigation management and incorporation of community led total sanitation will improve farming systems through sustainable resource use. Climate mitigation actions including sustainable energy, water and forestry will generate verified carbon emission reductions.
2. Growth of profitable and sustainable agri-enterprises (SMEs) by support to agri-business via inclusive value chains through:
- Smallholder Commercial Farming, which enables smallholders to engage profitably in sustainable agricultural value chains. The programme will carry out an assessment of current agricultural activities that have the most potential for smallholder integration using a full value chain analysis that will investigate demand for and existing supply of specific agricultural commodities. The programme will then support crop planting strategies and marketing activities which will enable smallholders to respond to opportunities and/or potential challenges within specific agricultural value chains.
- Agri-Business development that builds the capacity of smallholders’ cooperatives, farmer-led agri-businesses and SMEs to engage with local, national and possibly international markets. The Eritrean Women’s Enterprise Association will be a focus for demonstrating models of support.
3. Establish and strengthen institutional partnership with Ministry of Agriculture in Eritrea and State and Non-State Agencies in Ireland including Teagasc and internationally through:
- Adapting the Teagasc model and experience for agri-food industry support so that research, technology transfer and innovation support as well as education and skills development are integrated to efficiently and effectively support agriculture sector development in Eritrea.
- Strengthening research capacity at NARI and Hamelmalo College by supporting joint research initiatives, Third Level Education including the provision of guest lectures by experts from Ireland and East Africa, setting up a visiting scientist programme, ensuring young Eritrean researchers are prioritised for international postgraduate fellowship programmes.
- Strengthening knowledge transfer and innovation support throughout the system from farmer level to researchers. Consolidating and further developing the Farmer Field School programme and community-based extension will support the integration of services and movement from technology support to innovation support with a focus on a more rapid uptake of improved technologies on farm.
 Provision of minimum integrated package: The Ministry of Agriculture is currently introducing a minimum integrated package which consists of the provision of one dairy cow, 25 one–month old vaccinated chicks, 2 sets of beehives with accessories, improved varieties of vegetable seeds, 10 fruit trees, 5 forage tree seedlings/forage seeds and 5 tree seedlings for firewood. In its Five-Year (2014-2018) Strategic and Development Plan the Ministry of Agriculture aims to implement the minimum integrated package for 2,500 beneficiary households every year