Transforming Landscapes and Soil Health for Increased Agricultural Productivity: Experiences from Ethiopia

Source: IFPRI/David Spielman

Source: IFPRI/David Spielman

On November 7, 2014, Prof. Tekalign Mamo, State Minister and Minister’s Advisor, Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopia will give a seminar at the International Food Policy Research Institute on several soil projects underway in Ethiopia. Read the abstract for the seminar below. If you are interested in joining virtually, please see the instruction to join via GoToMeeting at the bottom of this page.


Ethiopia is a landlocked country with a population of about 90 million, which makes it the second most populous African nation.  Agriculture is the primary driver of the economy and also contributes about 60 percent towards the country’s total export.  Although the majority of the population is engaged in farming, productivity rates have been low because of severe land degradation, low technological inputs, poor soil fertility, weak institutions, and lack of sound agricultural policies and strategies. During the past decade and a half, however, the country has continuously increased agricultural production and productivity because of a range of policy actions and interventions by the government.  Since 2005, the country has been implementing a community-based watershed development strategy in order to slow land degradation.  This project contributed to the rehabilitation of more than 13 M hectares of land.  Other soil interventions include improved drainage of vast areas of waterlogged soils (Vertisols), reclamation of acid soils, and strengthening the use of compost.  In 2011, a national soil fertility mapping project was launched to improve the country's fertilizer advisory service.  To-date, the soils in 293 administrative districts or ''woredas'' has been mapped with more target areas left to be completed. With the soil information generated by the mapping project, blended fertilizers were also recommended and introduced by district.  Currently, five fertilizer-blending plants are being built in strategic locations throughout the country.  The presentation will highlight the major features of the mentioned topics and also summarize significant lessons learned along with the way forward.


Prof. Tekalign Mamo, a 1985 graduate in soil chemistry and fertility from  the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, is a successful researcher, academic, and leader.  Prior to his current role as State Minister and Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture in Ethiopia, he served as Advisor with the rank of State Minister to the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture (2005-2010), State Minister of Agriculture (2004-2005), Vice President of Haramaya University (2004), and Senior Researcher and Director of Research (1985-1999).

He has published over 75 scientific papers and book chapters, focusing on soil chemistry and fertility, crop nutrition, land management and soil nutrient assessment techniques in peer-reviewed journals.  He is also the founder and first editor-in-chief of The Ethiopian Journal of Natural Resources.

Major awards and honors he has received include the following: Honorary Member of Ethiopian Soil Science Society, Swiss Trans-disciplinarily Award, Professorship from Haramaya University and Certificate of Recognition and Gold Medal Award for Meritorious Achievements in Agricultural Research.  He has also won the 2014 Yara Prize for contributing to the advancement of the Green Revolution in Africa, the Certificate of life time significant contribution to the advancement of soil fertility research from International Potash Institute, and the diploma and trophy for excellent achievement from the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency.

Join the seminar virtually

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