April 15, 2023

TAAT signs $0.5 million Agreement with Djibouti to strengthen food system resilience

The Djibouti Agric Minister with the team from AfDB & TAAT

The Government of Djibouti has engaged Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) to provide technical assistance through the Program to Strengthen Resilience to Food and Nutritional Insufficiency in the Horn of Africa (BREFONS).

In an agreement worth $561,930.00 signed on 12th April 2023, TAAT is expected to provide technical assistance for deploying climate-smart agricultural technologies and innovations.

TAAT is equally expected to develop and disseminate to farmers and seed producers, a catalogue of climate-smart technologies for Djibouti; strengthen the production of climate-smart vegetable seeds; and provide technical assistance for developing a pilot aquaculture farm in the context of climate change.

TAAT will also provide technical assistance for the construction of a Centre of Excellence in Animal Husbandry for Arid and Semi-Aid Areas and the development of an in vitro resilient date palm production centre.  

Through the promotion of climate-smart technologies and innovations, TAAT, will provide technical assistance in implementing components of the project which aim at strengthening the resilience of agro-sylvo-pastoral production to climate change.

Sponsored by the African Development Bank as part of its Feed Africa Initiative, TAAT aims to double the productivity of crops, livestock and fisheries by making proven technologies available to more than 40 million agricultural producers by 2025. This will produce an additional 120 million tonnes of food and lift 130 million people out of poverty.

TAAT scales up the adoption of agricultural technologies developed by research and development institutes by inserting them in agricultural projects implemented in African countries. In collaboration with some of its partner institutions like the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), World Vegetable Centre (WorldVeg) and the WorldFish Centre, TAAT will work with the Government of Djibouti through the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Livestock to contribute and accelerate Djibouti’s path to resilience.

Through the interventions planned under this agreement, it is hoped that at least 1,000 farmers and livestock breeders (50% women) will now have access to technologies and innovative agro-sylva-pastoral practices.

To achieve this, an approach based on the understanding of the context and the country’s real needs has been adopted to establish a diagnosis of existing technologies and select appropriate technologies for the country. The identification of key stakeholders (private sector, government institutions, local authorities) and beneficiaries of the programme has been scheduled to allow the development of a progressive and participatory approach to the deployment and implementation of this project.

Food and Nutritional Insufficiency in Djibouti

Djibouti is a country of 23,200 square kilometres, with an estimated population of about one million in 2021, of which 78% live in urban areas and 22% in rural areas. about 60% of the population is concentrated in Djibouti city. The country is bordered by the Red Sea, on the maritime route between the Suez Canal and the Far East. due to its strategic position, Djibouti’s economy is mainly based on port activities, supported by the volume of Ethiopian imports and exports. The multiple and consecutive crises since 2020 (Covid pandemic situation in Ethiopia and war in Ukraine, prolonged drought) have deepened the budget, which is estimated in 2022 at 3.5% of GDP.

Djibouti depends on the external market for its food supply, and this makes the country vulnerable to international and regional fluctuations. Since Djibouti relies on imports for 90% of its food consumption. According to the World Food Program (WFP) food security and nutrition survey (published in April 2022), households with inadequate food increased from 43% in 2020 to 54% in 2022. The poor spend about 77% of their budget on food. The main food products Djibouti imports are cereals such as rice, wheat flour, and pasta; fruit and vegetables; animal products; sugar; and vegetable oils.

Due to a relatively unfavourable climatic and soil-hydrological context, as well as the low level of structuring of farmers and difficulties in accessing services (extension, finance, marketing) and inputs, the agricultural sector is not very developed but constitutes an important economic activity for rural populations. Crop production is poorly developed due to the lack of water, arable land, and the salinity of the soil. It is limited to oasis agriculture, practiced along the wadis. Livestock production accounts for 75% of agricultural GDP. Consequently, food availability is mainly through the market and imports.

Building Resilience in the Horn of Africa

The Program to Build Resilience for Food and Nutrition Security in The Horn of Africa (BREFONS), established by the African Development Bank, represents an investment of $138 million to build resilience against food and nutrition insecurity of 3 million pastoralists in the face of climate change in the Horn of Africa region.  BREFONS covers four (4) countries: Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan, with Ethiopia and Sudan.

BREFONS seeks to increase agricultural (crops and livestock) production to up 30%; increased annual income per capita by about 30%; facilitate access to TAAT innovative technologies and practices for 180,000 pastoralists and farmers; and reach 450,000 pastoralists and farmers with digital advisory services. Other objectives include creating 35,000 additional jobs for youth and women; increasing the number of farmers and pastoralists using climate services e.g., index-based insurance, with a gender focus to 800,000 people; and periodic monitoring and reporting of the state of resilience at the national and regional levels.

The programme’s beneficiaries include populations in the Horn of Africa affected by climate change, including increased temperatures, high rainfall variability, and intense flooding, each of which have serious socioeconomic consequences. The programme’s approach is to deploy an integrated suite of interventions to build resilience to climate change in these populations and improve food and nutrition security. Priority is given to areas in the IGAD cross-border clusters and economic corridors