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Table 2 Milestones in maize research and development in Ethiopia

From: Factors that transformed maize productivity in Ethiopia

Year Event Outcome/Consequences
1966 Establishment of EIAR (Apex body for National Agricultural Research) Nationally coordinated, agro-ecological zone-based research launched; accelerated training of researchers; regional and international collaboration in AR&D initiated
1973 First releases of two improved varieties (A-511 and Alemaya Composite) Farmers exposed to new, improved maize varieties (this was followed by an early maturing variety – Katumani - that remained popular until recent years)
1974 Major drought and famine (mainly northern Ethiopia) Increased demand for food; massive food-aid inflow from abroad; the famine was the major rallying point by the military to overthrow Emperor Haileselassie
1976 Introduction of maize research for moisture stress (at Awassa College, southern Ethiopia) Expansion of maize in lower rainfall areas (e.g., central rift valley)
1979 Establishment of ESE (Ethiopian Seed Enterprise) Enhanced availability of improved/clean seed; savings on imported seed
1980 Establishment of multidisciplinary maize research team Centers of excellence identified; more research centers built; international experts recruited through IDA loan; enhanced understanding of constraints
1982 Introduction of joint research and extension sites Trials conducted under farmers’ conditions; enhancedadoption of improved technologies
1984 Another major drought strikes Tarnished image and wounded national pride; search for solutions and strategies; maize receives high priority
1985 Official start of National Variety Release Committee Criteria for desirable traits and quality standards established; national commercial variety registry issued
1988 First release of a locally developed hybrid (BH140) Increased potential to improve productivity (in mid- and lower altitudes)
1993 Release of BH660 (most productive and popular hybrid even at present Increased interest in maize adoption and production in the traditional growing areas with adequate rainfall; increased appreciation of for research by policy makers
1993 Government campaign for increased food production (in collaboration with Sasakawa Global 2000) Increased demand for mineral fertilizer and improved seed; increased demand for extension
1995 Release of the hybrid BH540 Suitable variety for intermediate altitudes made available; expansion of maize production in non-traditional areas
1995 First private release by Pioneer of a hybrid, Jabi (PHB3253) Increased availability of improved variety seed; more options for farmers
1995 Launching of NEIP (National Extension Intervention Program) using what is known as PADETS (Participatory Demonstration and Extension Training System) approach Improved coverage of extension services; increased demand for extension personnel
1996 ARTP (Agricultural Research and Training Program) launched Increased research capacity; increased training and deployment of extension staff
2001 Maize prices plummet Doubts whether farmers would be still interested in maize production in light of market failure
2002 Government fixes floor price for maize Improved confidence in maize production
2004 EIAR leads the so-called “Ejj-Le-Ejj (hand-in-hand) campaign Partnership among AR&D stakeholders strengthened; promotion and scaling up/out available technologies intensified; adoption of improved technologies enhanced
2007 Partnerships with Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) and the Program for Africa’s Seed Systems (PASS) projects launched Drought and other stress tolerant varieties made available to smallholder farmers; frequency of variety releases and commercialization enhanced; increased involvement of private sector in seed production; increased availability of improved maize seed
2012 Maize traded on ECX (Ethiopian Commodity Exchange) Farmers benefit from improved market