SG-2000 Ethiopia Celebrate 30 Years of SAA, Hold Stakeholders Meeting
Sasakawa Global 2000 (SG-2000) Ethiopia marked Sasakawa Africa Association`s (SAA) 30th Anniversary of service to smallholder farmers of Africa, the 24th in Ethiopia, and holding Stakeholders’ Symposium in Adama from March 30 to 31st , 2017 in the presence of H.E. Dr. Eyasu Abraha, Minister of Agriculture & Natural Resources of Ethiopia, H.E. Mr. Sileshi Getahun, Vice-President of the Oromia regional state and head of the Agriculture & Natural Resources bureau, and H.E. Mr. Osmar Surur, Director General of the Federal Cooperative Agency.
Dr. Aberra Debelo, SG-2000 Ethiopia Country Director, addressed the audience that the two major objectives of the symposium were to commemorate the 30th anniversary of SAA in Africa, and review what SG-2000 Ethiopia accomplished during 2016, and discuss the 2017 work plan. He pointed out that the plan for 2017 in the four SAA program countries was put up on the basis of the new five-year strategic plan of the organization (2017 – 2021) , and in alignment with the government development programs of the respective countries, indicating that the scaling up of successful interventions is principally carried out by governments.
Mr. Sileshi Getahun, Vice-President of the Oromia regional state and head of the Agriculture & Natural Resources bureau, recalled: “whenSG2000 Ethiopia was initiated in 1993 to deal with the problems in the agricultural sector, productivity of the smallholder farmers was very minimal. Since then, there have been great achievements that changed the livelihood of smallholder farmers, especially in the Oromia region”. He further noted that the SG-2000 program is known to have introduced in the country a participatory extension strategy, adding: “Oromia region is one of the beneficiaries and I expect the program to be strengthened and address more farmers in the region as well as elsewhere in the country.”
Osmar Surur, Director General of the Federal Cooperative Agency on his part said that linking farmers with market through value-addition interventions such as introduction of maize shellers, agro-processing of food items, establishment of women-based cooperatives under different cultures and their engagement in various business-generating activities were all important outputs of SG-2000.
Guest of honor Dr. Eyasu Abraha, Minister of Agriculture & Natural Resources of Ethiopia, congratulating SAA on the important milestone, reflected: “it took only three years after SG-2000 started its program in Ethiopia in 1993 that it managed to practically demonstrate through its extension program that it was possible to increase crop productivity three and four folds. Then, the Ethiopian government allocated the necessary budget and started scaling up of the program that began with 32,000 farmers in 1996 reaching 3.2 million in 2001.”
The genesis of Sasakawa Global 2000 dates back to 1984 when the late Japanese philanthropist Ryoichi Sasakawa became aware of the famine that hit the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia being the worst hit. At the same time, in Asia, Green Revolution was underway led by the prominent wheat scientist and the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize winner, the late Dr. Norman Ernest Borlaug. Mr. Sasakawa called Dr. Borlaug and asked him to join him combat hunger in Africa. These formidable duo then saw the support of Mr. Jimmy Carter, former President of USA whose Global 2000 health program was active at the time with different interventions in Africa. In 1986, Sasakawa Africa Association became officially registered in Geneva as an international humanitarian NGO aimed to increase agricultural productivity in Africa to rid the continent of hunger and malnutrition.