Ethiopian Living Labs for regenerative, inclusive food systems

South Achefer Living Lab


By 2031, regenerative and inclusive food systems contribute to agricultural sector transformation and Ethiopian pathway to prosperity.


REFOOTURE-Ethiopia facilitates generation, validation and dissemination of knowledge and practices on regenerative and inclusive food systems (RIFS) where a functional living lab (South Achefer) facilitates realization of innovation co-creation, inclusiveness and ecosystem health. 

Amhara National Regional State

In the Northwestern part of Ethiopia, Amhara region, in South Achefer district, smallholders have gone through major transformation through the adoption of potato production along with management practices leading to relatively high yields and substantial financial returns. The income allowed them to increase their cattle herd. However, potato does not provide by-product to feed animals, compared to maize. Thus, farmers started to plant Rhodes grass for animal feed. Using mineral fertilizers is recommended to close yield gaps due to depleted soils and to create sufficient income for farmers. The living lab explores the benefits of compost as a way to improve soil fertility and crop productivity, in addition or instead of mineral fertilizers. However, manure is now used as fuel, leaving little material for composting. Therefore, the living lab will also explore other ways to improve crop productivity while improving soil fertility. Another issue is rethinking the use of manure as a fuel.

Innovation agenda

Potato – Rhodes grass – dairy-based regenerative, inclusive innovation case in South Achefer district

Proposed activities:
• Enhance adoption rate of best practices such as potato, Rhodes grass, and dairy production.
• Enhance regenerative farming practices by inclusion of compost and organic matter saving practices like intercropping, minimum tillage, agroforestry and forestry.
• Ensure inclusiveness of women, children and disadvantaged segment of the society.
• Improve access to improved seed and farm management practices (IPM, crop management, crop rotation).
• Enhance opportunities for local processing of potato (chips, starch, and improved storage).
• Improved and fair marketing linkages of potato and milk products by identifying potential buyers (processors, restaurants, wholesalers, vendors).