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Improving Nutrition and Resilience in Ethiopia

The Feed the Future Transforming Agriculture Activity is working to make Ethiopia’s food and agriculture systems more competitive, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient.


Influence and inspire Ethiopia’s agriculture and food system actors to sustainably improve healthy diets, particularly for women and children.


Aligning the food supply with consumer preferences will support job growth and improve nutritional options.


Shifting to a consumer-focused agriculture model will increase the availability of nutritious foods by 30 percent, increase household incomes by 40 percent, and make nutritious foods more affordable and accessible.

In Ethiopia, ongoing shocks and stresses, such as conflict and climate change, drive low agricultural productivity, food safety challenges, and high rates of food loss and waste. Eighty-five percent of the country’s population of 37.9 million are employed in the agricultural sector, yet women are more likely to receive lower-than-average wages and cannot reliably afford nutritious foods. 

 To address these issues, the USAID-funded Feed the Future Ethiopia Transforming Agriculture activity is working to:

  • Better align existing food and agriculture supply with demand. 
  • Increase food safety and quality. 
  • Increase enterprise growth and employment. 
  • Advance key social priorities through public-private partnerships.

To develop sustainable and resilient agricultural enterprises and changes in the food system, the activity focuses on 132 woredas (districts) with the goal of supporting economic growth, food systems, and nutritional health, particularly for women and their children.

Implementing a Nutrition-Led Approach

If preferred nutritious foods are plentiful and easy to find, they will become more accessible and affordable for low-income households. RTI is applying its Food Environment Toolkit to research consumer preferences versus what foods are currently available, and discover which sought-after, highly nutritious foods could be produced (grown is crops specific) in larger volumes with increased distribution to make them more convenient. 

The activity is engaging with small-holder farmers, distributors, and processors to understand the barriers and motivations to buying and eating nutritious foods. Based on the evidence gathered through these stakeholder engagements, the activity will design interventions to increase access to nutritious foods.

Leveraging Local Solutions to Improve the Competitiveness, Inclusiveness, and Resilience of Agriculture and Food Systems

The Feed the Future Ethiopia Transforming Agriculture activity is targeting local networks and local actors in the private sector—including farmers, enterprises, consumers, and other entrepreneurs— to help them overcome barriers to doing business and drive innovation, strengthen capacity, and shift markets to better serve marginalized groups. Rather than creating standalone solutions to food system gaps, the activity will make strategic investments to incentivize market shifts and influence market actors to improve business practices, expand networks, and capitalize on market opportunities. Supporting win-win relationships between food supply and food processing businesses includes productivity, technology, and product innovation to address the challenges of food scarcity and price inflation.

Facilitating increased public-private partnership and collaboration will spur a more favorable policy environment for private sector investment and innovation that serves the population’s economic and dietary needs. This in turn will create jobs and add more affordable, locally grown foods to the market that consumers will be more likely to purchase. First Consult—a local Ethiopian consulting firm—is leading the implementation of some of these business activities, bringing their extensive experience in enterprise growth, access to finance, and workforce development to bear.


Learn more about RTI’s work supporting global food systems and in Ethiopia.