Contribution of BENEFIT-CASCAPE’s Wheat Best Fit Practice to National Wheat Self-Sufficiency
In spite of their significant contribution to boost production and productivity of farmers, most of the agricultural technologies developed by the research system have not adequately reached its beneficiaries. It is estimated that only about 31 percent of smallholder farmers are using full package of improved practices. Some of the main reasons for low uptake of improved technologies are related to lack of farmer participation in the technology development process, and poor technology promotion approaches. Recognizing this, BENEFIT-CASCAPE uses innovation pathways to test, validate and scale best fit practices (BFPs).
In the case of wheat, BENEFIT-CASCAPE BFP has been assessed across Amhara, Oromia, South and Tigray regions. The pre-extension demonstration (PED) result shows that the average yield of wheat using BFP technologies is 4.9qt/ha while the local practices is 2.6qt/ha and the nation average being 2.7qt/ha. The yield advantage of BENEFIT-CASCAPE PED over local practices and national average is 88.46 and 75.00 %, respectively.
Considering that Ethiopia has 4.64 million smallholder farmers growing wheat on a total area of 1.7million ha of land, with an average production level of 2.7qt/ha, the national production volume is approximately 4.6million tons. This falls short of the domestic demand and thereby requiring for the government to import wheat to fill the existing gap. In 2018, Ethiopia imported 3.7 million tons to meet the total national consumption level of 8.3 million tons.
Based on the results of BENEFIT-CASCAPE PED, Ethiopia can indeed produce the 8.2 million tons of wheat needed for national consumption (4.9qt/ha ∗ 1.7 million ha=8.33), Hence, the overall adoption of best fit practice of wheat in the wheat-growing area of Ethiopia would bridge the gap to national wheat self-sufficiency.
Contributed by Akalu Teshome, PhD – BENEFIT-CASCAPE Socio-Economic Expert