Horticultural Livelihoods, Innovation and Food safety in Ethiopia (HortiLIFE)

This project is active

The Horticultural Livelihoods, Innovation and Food safety in Ethiopia (Horti-LIFE) is a project that aims to increase the involvement of smallholders in innovative and competitive horticulture production systems that improve food security for rural families and food safety and contribute to improved nutrition in domestic markets.

The project is implemented in close collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Regional Bureaus of Agriculture in Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR, Tigray and Sidama Regions in Ethiopia.

Horti-LIFE phase I started January 2016 and ended September 2019, see results below.

Phase II will be implemented up to mid-2023 and aims to reach 100,000 smallholders. The project has the following objectives:

  1. Improve productivity and diversification through Farmers’ Field Schools (FFS) where male and female farmers learn and adopt innovative horticulture production technologies and gain access to quality input supply. The FFS programme is being institutionalised in the government extension system, whereby the Ministry of Agriculture will adopt FFS as a key extension approach.
  2. Improve commercial service provision by private actors (inputs, spraying, markets, etc.), including seed multiplication for onions and potatoes, and access to finance.
  3. Improve food safety including new regulations regarding the formalisation of Spray Service Providers (SSPs) and local Pesticide Agents, and improved plant protection services to smallholders, including using less harmful pesticides.
  4. Capacitated universities and Agricultural Technical Vocational Education and Training Centers (ATVETs) which educate graduates with practical skills to support male and female farmers.
  5. Consumer awareness through Social and Behaviour Change Communication in the project’s districts, of the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables for healthy diets.


At the mid-term of phase II, substantial progress was made with the institutionalisation. 24 district agricultural offices have started to invest budget and manpower into managing the FFS programme for horticulture themselves. The extension and the horticulture departments are preparing guidelines for FFS as a national extension method. Other departments of the Ministry of Agriculture have progressed in establishing guidelines and regulations to formalise the position of local pesticide agents and SSPs.

Results from Horti-LIFE Phase I


Farmers reached


Increase in earnings


Our experts

Gerrit Holtland

Project Team Leader

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