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Breaking the Cycle of Poverty


Despite significant natural resource endowments, a large proportion of the people living in Ethiopia struggle to produce or buy enough nutritious food to feed their families. Crop and livestock productivity is plagued by erratic rainfall, crop and livestock diseases, poor infrastructure, limited access to markets, and lack of skilled human resources. These interrelated vulnerabilities contribute to Ethiopia being one of the poorest countries in the world. Without progressive interventions these conditions are reinforced generation to generation – perpetuating a cycle of poverty.


The Benishangul Gumuz Food Security and Economic Growth Project (BSG FSEG) (2010 – 2015) supports communities in Ethiopia to diversify food choices, improve agricultural productivity and engage in sustainable income-generating activities. This project aims to improve the food security and economic well-being of vulnerable people and will directly benefit 127,000 individuals in the Benishangul Gumuz Region (BSG). With financial support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the project is a unique partnership between the Government of Ethiopia and seven NGOs: The Canadian Hunger Foundation, Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief, Food for the Hungry, the International Network of Bamboo and Rattan, Oxfam Canada, Save the Children Canada and World Vision Canada.


The Regional Government, Local and International NGOs, Research Centers, and Academia are collaborating with the residents of the region -- especially women -- to address food security and connect some of the poorest families to markets to break the cycle of rural poverty. This innovative approach builds on best practices and integrates agricultural development, natural resource management, nutrition, gender, capacity building, disaster risk management, as well as value-chain and market-led development.



Promising Results:

  • 14,622 farmers (4924 females) have been trained on appropriate agricultural practices and animal husbandry. The productivity of these farmers has significantly increased, both in terms of quantity produced and productivity per hectare leading them on a path to food security.

  • 2,150,717 seedlings have been raised and distributed to farmers. This has a multiplier effect: farmers have better access to nutritious food, can sell the surplus which generates income while regenerating the natural resource base in the communities. 
  • 2000 farmers (976 females) have received training to improve their knowledge on good health and nutritional practices. With Ethiopia facing one of the highest rates of severely malnourished children globally, these trainings are critical to ensure that parents are better informed to care for and protect their children.
  • A total of 19,40,000 birr (over $100,000 CAN) has been invested in unions and cooperatives to support start-up costs.  In addition to supplying inputs and consumer goods to more than 4,000 farmers at a lower cost, these unions and cooperatives have enabled farmers to increase their economies of scale and negotiation power.
  • The project has supported 10,715 farmers (3,000 F) to participate in market oriented agricultural activities for both annual crops and livestock.  Farmers are increasingly diversifying their income sources with 2,228 (560 women) farmers now engaging in improved production, harvesting and marketing of value chains.


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