Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) in partnership with Stichting Wageningen Research (SWR) conducted the validation workshop for the RAISE-FS regional plan on July 02, 2022, at Bellevue Hotel in Addis Ababa.
Dr. Diriba Geleti, Deputy Director General for Research, EIAR, said in his opening speech that Interaction, networking and feedback are very important for project agility. He added that nowadays the food system transformation approach has received great attention from the Ethiopian Government and many development organizations to bring transformation in the agriculture sector. Hence, RAISE-FS will contribute to bringing the desired change to the transformation efforts of the country. “The evidence RAISE-FS will generate will help our decision makers to reposition themselves.” Dr. Diriba remarked.
The country representative for Stichting Wageningen Research (SWR) Ethiopia, Dr. Dawit Alemu, on his behalf, briefed the workshop participants regarding SWR Ethiopia and the RAISE-FS project. As Dr. Dawit noted, the major objective of the stakeholders’ workshop is to examine and validate the plan per the three food systems designed by RAISE-FS regional teams which constitutes researchers from the three research centers and advisors of the project. Those actions that are validated and accepted by stakeholders will be implemented, according to Dr. Dawit. He admitted that the planning had been pushed back this year due to a number of issues, but the project committed itself not to miss the rainy season and implement production related activities. RAISE-FS signed collaboration agreement with EIAR. The research centers Holetta, D/Zeit, and Melkassa Agricultural Research Centers which are part of EIAR will implement the planned activities in collaboration with respective partners.
It was noted that RAISE-FS employ a Food System Transformation (FST) approach. Then presentations on key elements, drivers, and major outcome areas were given to provide context and insight into the food system transformation approach. In response to a participant concern, Dr. Dawit stated that RAISE-FS focuses on developing innovation and evidence. He further said that location isn’t as such important, what is generated any project intervention areas would be documented to be scaled out to other parts of the country.
The RAISE-FS regional teams from the three research centers presented the draft plans per the three food systems. Following the presentations, participants thoroughly discussed and reviewed the planned activities in relation to their priorities. The majority of the activities, according to the participants, reflect the current challenges and priorities in the identified locations. Participants made excellent recommendations and comments to enrich and consolidate the planned activities.
The rapid food system appraisal and the baseline survey that is planned to be implemented by the project was explained to participants. It was said that the two studies are designed to generate information that will be used to inform the next planning phase.
The validation workshop was attended by officials, researchers, agricultural professionals, project staff. More than 50 participants delegated from research centers, agriculture offices, seed enterprises, women, youth, and children affairs offices, and administration offices attended in the validation workshop.