Improving Food and Nutrition Security in

the Highlands of Ethiopia




Ethiopia, located in the Horn of Africa, is the tenth largest (1,112,000 km2) and second most populous (estimated at ca. 91.1 million in July 2012) country on the African continent. It is also one of the oldest agrarian cultures in sub-Saharan Africa, with agriculture accounting for approximately 46% of the country’s GDP and 85% of total employment. However, a rapidly increasing population (ca. 40% since the start of the 21st century) - coupled with a changing climate - has led to significant land-use changes, particularly in the highland areas, which account for 95% of the country’s cultivated land base. Consequently, the sustainability of Ethiopia’s agricultural productivity and food security is threatened by deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion and desertification.

To counteract this trend, researchers from the University of Saskatchewan and Hawassa University have been working with Ethiopian researchers and farmers to develop farming practices, technologies, and policies aimed at improving livelihoods and preserving the country’s valuable land and water resources. In June 2012, the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund announced funding for a new program to continue to improve food and nutrition security by developing and introducing pulse crops (such as chickpea and haricot beans) that will provide farmers with high-protein, nutrient-rich crops whose nitrogen-fixing capabilities can enhance the health and quality of the soil. The ultimate goal of this project is to increase Ethiopia’s capacity to produce more and better food, thus reducing poverty and improving people’s nutrition and health.

The University of Saskatchewan and Hawassa University have a long history of  partnering to train graduate students and conduct research aimed at meeting the needs of the small-scale, subsistence farmers who form the backbone of Ethiopia’s largely agrarian society. The current program builds on nearly 20 years of joint experience, and demonstrates the long-term commitment of both Ethiopian and Canadian researchers to building local capacity and bringing an end to food and nutrition insecurity in the region.


Hawassa University, Ethiopia

    Dr. Sheleme Beyene

    Dr. Walelign Worku

    Dr. Endalkachew Wolde-meskel

    Dr. Kabebe Abegaz

    Dr. Abebe Yewelsew

University of Saskatchewan, Canada

    Dr. Bunyamin Tar’an

    Dr. Fran Walley

    Dr. Carol Henry

    Dr. Susan Whiting

    Dr. Gord Zello

    Dr. Amy Kaler (U of Alberta)

    Dr. JoAnn Jeffe (U of Regina)


Upcoming Conference

Linking Agriculture, Nutrition, and Health 2013

06 - 08 February 2013