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IDRC Project in Ethiopia Improves Nutrition through Plant Breeding
Farmers in southern Ethiopia have achieved a two-fold increase in chickpea productivity through enhanced soil health and improved crop varieties. At the same time, improved food processing, preparation methods and education programs have contributed to better nutrition, including through the incorporation of chickpeas into diets.
These are the findings of the ‘Improving Nutrition in Ethiopia through Plant Breeding and Soil Management’ project, which researches the biofortification of pulse crops. It employs strategies to enrich the nutrient contribution of staple crops (chickpea) through plant breeding, soil micronutrient management (zinc fertilizer) and household processing strategies. It supports biofortification as a cost-effective and sustainable approach to increasing micronutrients in crops using agronomic strategies. The project also focuses on women’s empowerment.
The project’s outcomes include increases in: soil fertility and crop productivity; micronutrients and nutrition; knowledge and skills; income; and earnings from trade. Project results show that investing in biofortification practices provides a cost-effective and sustainable approach for increasing micronutrients in diets and improving nutrition.