Site-Specific Fertilizer Recommendations for Wheat in Ethiopia – Project Report

Unleashing the Power of Technology and Data in Agribusiness

In Ethiopia, where agriculture is a key economic driver, a significant change is underway. With the global population rising and the demand for food increasing, Ethiopian agriculture is turning to technology and data-driven methods. This shift is crucial as agriculture represents 40% of Ethiopia’s GDP and employs about 75% of its workforce. The country is focused on transforming its agricultural sector from traditional methods to more productive and industrialized processes. Emphasizing a comprehensive farming approach, Ethiopia is working towards sustainable agriculture by integrating social, economic, and environmental factors.

For over two decades, Ethiopia has championed a holistic farming approach, weaving together the social, economic, and environmental threads into a tapestry of sustainable agriculture. The fields of Ethiopia are more than just plots of land; they are the foundations of entrepreneurial ventures and the pillars of agripreneurship. This new wave of agribusiness is fueling local economies, bolstering food security, and seeding jobs across communities.

Yet, in this fertile land, agripreneurs face daunting challenges. The foremost among these is the barrier to critical information. This gap in knowledge affects their ability to navigate market trends, understand climatic changes, and adopt best agricultural practices.

Our Game-Changing Partnership with FAO

Digital Green joins forces with the FAO to bridge this information divide in a groundbreaking partnership. Together, we’re crafting a digital haven – a data-sharing platform that promises to be the compass for agripreneurs navigating the complex agricultural ecosystem.

This platform is more than just a repository of information; it’s a gateway to empowerment. It equips agripreneurs with the tools and insights needed to enhance digital advisory services and bring innovative solutions to the fore. Imagine a world where an AI-powered Telegram bot serves as your personal agricultural advisor, offering customized access to a treasure trove of data – from market insights to soil health, from financing options to cutting-edge research, and even images to identify crop diseases.

Revolutionizing Agribusiness with Technology and Data

Ethiopia’s combination of technology and agriculture is a significant shift, marking a new chapter in agricultural practices. Facing challenges like a growing global population and environmental concerns, adopting innovative technology is essential. This approach aims to create sustainable and efficient farming practices, making them a practical reality rather than just an aspiration.

With the introduction of digital tools in agriculture, Ethiopia is poised to experience substantial improvements in farming. We are at a point where these changes can lead to notable advancements in agricultural productivity. We invite you to be part of this journey as we move towards an era where modern technology and traditional farming methods work together to transform Ethiopian agriculture.


Growing Smarter: Embracing Site-Specific Fertilizer Recommendations in Ethiopia

In the rolling wheat fields of Ethiopia, a digital revolution is taking root. In a country where traditional blanket fertilizer recommendations have long governed farming practices, a pioneering initiative is breaking new ground, promising not just higher yields, but a brighter future for farmers. Digital Green, in partnership with the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, is blending technology with traditional farming practices to revolutionize how farmers nourish their crops by tailoring fertilizer recommendations to the unique needs of each location. 

A Tailored Approach to Farming

Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all fertilizer recommendations. Imagine a world where farmers receive personalized advice as unique as the soil they till. That’s the vision brought to life through the Decision Support Tool (DST) developed by CIAT. This innovative tool generates site-specific fertilizer recommendations, ensuring every grain of wheat reaches its fullest potential. The results? A remarkable 24% increase in yield per hectare per season compared to local recommendations and a 16% rise over national blanket recommendations.

The journey from data to field is facilitated by Digital Green’s cutting-edge digital technologies. Our video-based extension and a pioneering Telegram Bot serve as conduits, delivering these golden nuggets of advice directly into the hands of Development Agents and, ultimately, the farmers. Initially, farmers received advice through printed maps and videos. However, as the number of participating farmers grew, the need for a more scalable and sustainable solution became evident. Enter the Telegram bot, a game-changer in agricultural advisories, enabling frontline workers to effectively share vital information with farmers.

Reception and Adaptation

Frontline workers have embraced the Telegram bot, praising its user-friendliness and the ease it brings in dispensing advice at both village and individual levels. Their feedback is a testament to the tool’s effectiveness in making a real difference on the ground. This digital transformation has not just boosted crop yields; it’s changing lives. Over 50,200 farmers, including a significant 25% female representation, from 16 woredas have been reached through these advisories. What’s more, 38,810 farmers have accessed information directly from the Telegram bot, embodying the success of this digital leap. 

Initially skeptical, farmers have also gradually recognized the benefits of site-specific recommendations. Despite challenges like fertilizer shortages and high prices, many are eager to adopt these new practices, drawn by the promise of higher yields and better livestock feed.

Looking Ahead

Frontline workers are not just users but innovators, suggesting integrations for comprehensive advisories covering diverse crops and farming practices. The vision is to create a digital ecosystem that supports every aspect of farming, from sowing to harvest. As we stand at the intersection of tradition and technology, it’s clear that the future of farming is digital. By personalizing agricultural advice, empowering farmers with knowledge, and leveraging the power of digital tools, we are not just growing crops; we’re nurturing a new era of sustainable and prosperous agriculture.

Read the full assessment reporthere.

Reviving Soil, Transforming Lives


Beneath the vibrant tapestry of our rural landscapes lies an unsung hero – the soil. This living, breathing foundation is not just dirt beneath our feet; it’s the bedrock of our existence, pivotal in feeding the ever-growing global population. Yet, its silent cry for help often goes unheard. This World Soil Day, join us in unearthing the story of soil – a tale of neglect, revival, and hope.

Rural agriculture, the backbone of many economies, thrives on the health of its soil. It’s a delicate balance – managing the chemical, physical, and biological aspects that constitute healthy soil. This balance is critical, not just for sustainable farming practices, but for our very survival.

At Digital Green, we’re pioneering a movement to restore soil fertility and health. Our approach? A blend of traditional wisdom and modern technology. We champion sustainable agricultural practices, from soil and water conservation to the use of organic fertilizers like compost and vermicompost. Our methods go beyond enhancing soil’s nutrient availability; they rejuvenate its very essence, improving water retention and structure – keys to a resilient soil ecosystem.

Meet Emuye Muche, a 40-year-old farmer from Korata Kebele in Ethiopia. Her journey with Digital Green transformed not just her farm but her life. “My soil was acidic, and growing maize was a challenge,” she shares. “But after attending Digital Green’s video sessions on vermicompost, I saw a dramatic change. My backyard, once barren, now flourishes with vegetables, fruits, and maize.”

Kefelegn Tariku’s story is no less remarkable. Residing in Amhara, Ethiopia, this father of five faced the challenge of overusing inorganic fertilizers. Through our partnership with Alliance Bioversity and CIAT, and a customized Telegram bot, Kefelegn discovered the power of location-specific fertilizer recommendations. “I tried it on a small plot,” he recalls. “The results were so promising that I expanded it to a hectare. My yield skyrocketed in just a year.”

This World Soil Day, Digital Green reaffirms its commitment to nurturing soil health. By equipping farmers with knowledge and tools, we’re not just promoting sustainable practices; we’re empowering them to be guardians of their land and our ecosystems.

Together, we hold the power to safeguard soil health, champion sustainable agriculture, secure food supplies, and foster a healthier planet for generations to come. As we commemorate World Soil Day, let’s pledge to be active participants in this vital mission. The health of our soil reflects the health of our world. Join us in this crusade, for the earth beneath our feet holds the key to our future.