During his recent two-day visit to Ethiopia late last month, the first by a sitting U.S. president, President Obama met with Agricultural Growth Program-Agribusiness and Market Development (AGP-AMDe) farmer Gifti Jemal Hussein at the Faffa Foods Factory in Addis Ababa. She is one of the first group of 320 farmers who received DuPont Pioneer hybrid maize seed from AGP-AMDe, a USAID Feed the Future initiative, along with fertilizer and training.

Since Hussain began cultivating the new seed in 2012, her maize yield has increased nearly three-fold, from 2.5 metric tons/hectare to 7 metric tons/hectare. The additional yield also improved Hussein’s income and has enabled her to build a new house, buy a cow, and send her children to school. The AMDe project, pronounced ahm-da, which means “pillar” in Amharic, underscores the importance of food security to households’ well-being. The project connects participating Ethiopian farmers in six value chains (coffee, sesame, chickpea, honey, wheat, maize) with processors.

AGP-AMDe to Reach 30,000 Maize Farmers by Project’s End

Currently, AMDe has distributed the hybrid DuPont Pioneer seed to 5,000 farmers in over 170 communities in Ethiopia. Farmer Hussein will become a certified hybrid seed dealer when the project scales up its seed demonstrations and awareness campaign to reach 30,000 farmers by the project’s end in late 2016.

Of AGP-AMDe’s success, Obama commented that “With just a few smart interventions, a little bit of help, [Ethiopian farmers] can make huge improvements in their overall yields. We are also able to create new markets by adding food processing alongside production.”