In spite of impressive results in some high potential areas in recent years, the problem of low agricultural productivity still remains a major challenge to the overall development process and food insecurity in Ethiopia. This is because growth in food production has not kept pace with the population growth leading to increased domestic demand and shortages of food.
There is a diverse range of factors that contribute to the low agricultural productivity in the country. Amongst the most cited are low and variable rainfall (drought/moisture stress), declining soil fertility (i.e. nutrient mining) and low level of technology adoption (very little use of modern inputs such as fertilizer, improved seeds and irrigation). Among the socio-economic constraints are problems of access to markets (poor infrastructure) and credit, weak or ill-functioning input supply chains and limited capacity of agricultural extension, research and advisory services.

The primary development goal of the Ethiopian government is to achieve food security and support high economic and export growth levels with the aim to eradicate poverty. The overarching policy direction adopted by the GoE is Agriculture Development Led Industrialization (ADLI). Growth and commercialization in the agricultural sector is deemed to accelerate trade and industry development through supplying raw materials, creating opportunities for capital accumulation and enhancing the domestic market. Central to the this strategy is enhancing the agricultural productivity and income of smallholder farmers through the use of modern inputs such as seed and fertilizer, improved natural resource management, improving markets (access and marketing system) and creation of non-agricultural employment schemes.

In 2010 the GoE initiated the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) for the period 2010-2015. This plan contains a policy for agricultural and rural development, which has been laid down in the agricultural Growth Programme (AGP). Within the AGP programme, scaling up of best practices has received a high priority development agenda in the coming five years. The aim of the GoE is to bring farmers productivity close to the average productivity of the outstanding farmers through up-scaling of best practices.

The CASCAPE project is designed to add to these activities by further strengthening the capacity of AGP stakeholders in identifying, documenting and disseminating best practices in agricultural production.

Purpose and objectives of CASCAPE:

The purpose of CASCAPE is to identify drivers for uptake of innovations, test and disseminate these innovations and evaluate their short and long term effects and with this knowledge stimulate scaling up of innovations.

The main objective of CASCAPE is to support the Ethiopian government to increase agricultural productivity in a sustainable way in order to enhance agricultural growth and to achieve food security.

Sub-objectives are:

  • Introduce, test, validate and document innovations and make recommendations for scaling up;
  • To support the development of effective stakeholder and knowledge networks to promote scaling up of innovations;
  • To analyze the conditions (socio-economic, biophysical, institutional/policy and technological) under which innovations are successfully implemented at farm & community level;
  • To support the AGP and MoA on specific subjects either directly or through related implementing agencies.


To reach these objectives CASCAPE applies a strategy and approach that is based on the following four guiding principles:

  • Integrated farming system management;
  • Sustainability;
  • Participatory action research;
  • Stakeholder and knowledge networks.

Activities and impacts

Within the CASCAPE project various activities are conducted, including an analysis of constraints and opportunities, on-site experimentation, detailed monitoring of agricultural management and environmental performance and socio-economic surveys. With these activities the CASCAPE project provides added value to the AGP in:

  • Detailed understanding of current farming systems.
  • Verification of best practices, identification of key factors for sustainable increased production and for successful uptake of these practices;
  • Evaluation of short term and long term effects of selected practices on sustainability.