Interview with Tadele Tefera, Head, icipe Ethiopia Office

What is the background of icipe in Ethiopia?

icipe started its operations in Ethiopia in 1992, after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Ethiopia subscribed to the icipe Charter. The Centre signed subsequent agreements with various partners like the ministries of agriculture, health, education and science and technology, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, as well as universities, private sectors and non governmental organisations (NGOs). These arrangements gave icipe the mandate to introduce its research and development activities in Ethiopia.

What were the main activities in the first two decades?

During this period, icipe’s activities in the country included control and management of tsetse and trypanosomiasis in Wolayita Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR); integrated vector management of malaria (IVM), commercial beekeeping, push-pull technology to control stemborers and the parasitic Striga weed, the Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services and Food Security in Eastern Africa (CHIESA), and research on bee health and pollinators, all in Oromia Region.

 How has icipe in Ethiopia evolved over the past eight years?

Since 2013,  icipe’s presence in Ethiopia has been strengthened tremendously, evidenced by the number of staff (currently, 98); expansion of geographical coverage to Amhara, Tigray, Benshangul-Gumuz, Oromia and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region

(SNNPR) developmental impacts and recognition by government partners.

The projects implemented during this period by the icipe Ethiopia Office include: Integrated Biological Control Applied Research Program (IBCARP), MOre Young Entreprenours in Silk and Honey (MOYESH) Programme (2019-2024); Young Entrepreneurs in Silk and Honey (YESH) project (2015-2021); Scaling up quality honey production and fair trade in Ethiopia (2018-2022); scaling up successful beekeeping and other livelihoods opportunities for needy communities in Wag Himra Zone, Ethiopia (2021-2023), Advocacy for Agroecology-Evidence for the feasibility of scaling up agroecology (Push-pull technology as a model) (2020-2022); Rice, Maize and Chickpea Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for East Africa (2015-2021); An integrated approach to mango production (2021-2023); Demonstrating tsetse and trypanosomosis management technologies with pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities in Borana Ethiopia (2020-2022). We are also involved in the Combating Arthropod Pests for Better Health, Food and Resilience to Climate Change (CAP-Africa), and Improving Food and Nutritional Security through Integrated Control of Tsetse and Tick-borne livestock diseases

In each of the five region, the Centre is implementing more than one interventions.

What is the contribution of the icipe Ethiopia Office to basic science?

In most of our projects, we include a basic science component. For example, we have students conducting research on fall armyworm, which has led to the identification of natural enemies of the pest in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. These studies are being advanced to determine the most ideal field release conditions for the natural enemies. We also have scholars generating knowledge around the push-pull technology, for example in regard to climate change adaptation and soil fertility improvement. Several students are engaged in research to bring various components like biopesticides, botanical extracts, biological control agents and pheromone traps, to create integrated pest management approach for rice, chick peas, maize, and mango.

What is the impact of the activities of the icipe Ethiopia Office on the Centre’s overall operations?

A good example is the YESH and MOYESH projects, which have increased the number and diversity of partners collaborating with icipe. These include various agencies along the honey and silk value chain, including government, non-government, financial institutions, private sectors, and communities. The MOYESH project has created new experiences in implementing large scale grants, and its target of over 100,000 beneficiaries has enabled us to increase our implementation capacity. This initiative is also providing insights into novel development models, for example, the value chain approach and socioeconomic information on behaviour change of partners, as well as aspects like social capital and knowledge capital. These activities also provide opportunities for a One Health approach, for example, finding synergies such asincluding  push-pull into beekeeping, beekeeping into fruit fly control, and so on.