The Agricultural Transformation Agenda was formally introduced in 2006 E.C. during the first Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP I) in order to provide a platform to address the most critical systemic bottlenecks constraining fulfilment of agriculture sector goals and targets identified by the government. While it was recognized that there are a myriad of different interventions that are necessary to grow the sector, the Agricultural Transformation Council chaired by the Prime Minister felt that a different mechanism was necessary to prioritize, implement, and track a narrow set of interventions designed to address the most important bottlenecks and catalyze transformational change.

In its first iteration under GTP I, the Transformation Agenda included 84 priority interventions (Deliverables) with particular attention paid to critical agricultural systems (soil, seed, markets), crop value chains (wheat, maize, tef, pulses, and oilseeds) and crosscutting issues (gender, climate, and monitoring, learning, and evaluation). In many cases, the obstacles being addressed – and even some of the solutions being pursued – may not be new. However, the approach focuses on improving execution effectiveness, and going beyond individual bottlenecks to strategically integrating interventions for maximum impact and sustainability.

For the Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) period, the scope and orientation of the Transformation Agenda has expanded in line with the government’s priorities. Specifically, the GTP II Transformation Agenda provides greater support to the livestock sector and includes focused attention on markets, agribusiness, and the private sector, as well as on institutional capacity-building.

In total, four thematic pillars and 30 program areas are included. Two of these program areas (Commercial & Contract Farming, and Agro-processing & Value Addition, are managed directly by the Prime Minister’s Office). For 23 of the 28 remaining program areas, all key stakeholders were engaged in a deeply consultative process to identify the most important systemic bottlenecks and the necessary interventions to unlock each of them.  Through this process, stakeholders identified two to three major Deliverables and three to five key interventions (Sub-Deliverables) in each program area. In total, 49 Deliverables and 181 Sub-deliverables were identified by stakeholders as the focus areas of the Transformation Agenda in GTP II.

In addition, the remaining five of the programs (Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation, Gender, Nutrition, Targeted Livelihood Support and Biodiversity) were deemed to be cross-cutting issues that required mainstreaming across the other Programs, Deliverables and Sub-deliverables of the Transformation Agenda. These programs therefore do not have their own specific Deliverables or Sub-deliverables outside of institutional capacity-building for mainstreaming.

To ensure accountability, each Deliverable is owned by a State Minister or agency head, and each Sub-deliverable is owned by an implementation coordinator. The implementation of the Transformation Agenda is overseen by the Agricultural Transformation Council which includes senior Federal and Regional government stakeholders across the agricultural, trade and industry sectors given the cross-sectoral nature of agricultural systems and value chains. A quarterly briefing report is prepared by the ATA to inform the Agricultural Transformation Council meetings and discussions.

Finally, design, planning and monitoring of specific Transformation Agenda Deliverables and Sub-Deliverables is informed by various baseline studies including the 2015 E.C. ATA Baseline Study undertaken by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Progress of the Transformation Agenda from 2004 through 2010 E.C. has been summarized and assessed in Annual Reports published by the ATA, and in the ATA’s GTP II Midterm Review. In addition a range of operational and impact evaluations have been undertaken by the ATA, IFPRI, and various partners over the course of GTP I and the first three years of GTP II.

The ATA’s role in supporting the Agricultural Transformation Agenda

The ATA’s work and support to partners in the implementation of the Transformation Agenda is focused on specific systemic issues within each Deliverable or Sub-deliverable and aims to ensure enough attention and resources are allocated to generate impact and sustained change towards transformation.

Specifically, in 2010 E.C., the ATA began implementation of the MoALR Delivery Unit (DU) by hiring and seconding staff into the Ministry and other partner organizations. The MoALR DU staff are responsible for providing technical and implementation support to the Deliverable Owners and Implementation Coordinators of the specific Deliverables and Sub-Deliverables in the Transformation Agenda. DU staff also provide planning, problem solving and other capacity building support on areas directly related to the Transformation Agenda, and support program management and other integration activities. Finally, the MoALR DU undertakes tracking, monitoring and reporting activities in order to provide senior leadership within the MoALR and other government officials with visibility on the progress made on the Transformation Agenda.

Beyond the support provided through the MoALR DU, the ATA will also provide additional support to the Transformation Agenda on two specific programmatic issue: Inputs (seed, fertilizer and agro-chemicals) for the crop side and a program area yet to be identified by the MoALR on the livestock side.  Based on specific requests from the MoALR in these two areas, the ATA will provide analysis, studies and technical support from content experts. The ATA will also prioritize the direct execution of projects requested for implementation in these two focus areas.