Agriculture has always been the source of livelihoods for Ethiopian people and is the backbone of the national economy. The sector employs 86% of the population. It also contributes 43% of the gross domestic product and 90% of the export earnings is derived from agriculture. Moreover, it supplies significant proportion of the raw materials for the agro-industries. However, due to the poor, traditional and backward agricultural performance, millions of people still face food shortage, famine, starvation and malnutrition.
Most parts of Ethiopia suffer also from several forms of environmental/natural resources degradation that adversely affected food and agricultural production and productivity. Factors such as high population pressure (about 2.8% growth rate per annum), deforestation, overgrazing along with inappropriate land and water resources management practices are thought to be the major reasons for poor agricultural production and productivity which marks the major food security challenges of Ethiopians . In addition to this existing challenges, agriculture in Ethiopia is confronted with tremendous new challenges such as growing threats from climate change, new and emerging infectious plant and animal diseases.
To feed a population that doubles every 20 years, agricultural yield increment is highly required through the combination of scientific knowledge with traditional know-how. Technological advancement and yield increment in agriculture highly depends on research and research in turn depends on training and education. Therefore, training is the key to the whole process.
Considering the highest environmental degradation in the country, frequent drought and food shortage, on the one hand, and agricultural potentials of Amhara region where the College is located, on the other, the initiation of the first agricultural college in the region was justifiable and long overdue. This fact along with an equitable expansion of higher education in the country and an increased institutional independence, a conducive environment was created for Bahir Dar University (BDU) to initiate new curricula in agriculture and environmental science. Accordingly, in September 2002, a committee was established to prepare the curricula and finally, the then Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences which currently is developed into college was launched in 2005 by enrolling 240 students in seven undergraduate programs. Curriculum revisions took place in 2006 and 2008 to suit to the needs of the stakeholders and very recently the curricula were changed in to modular approach.