Partnership among higher learning institutes, research and extension to enhance agricultural technology testing and validation through mandate zonation
The different interventions of BENEFIT Partnership programmes in Ethiopia have demonstrated the importance of testing and validation to promote locally appropriate suitability agricultural technology that fit the country’s diverse agro-ecologies. One of the targeted mechanisms for sustainable technology testing and validation that BENEFIT partnership has been promoting was the creation of institutionalized linkages among higher learning institutes (HLIs), research institutes and extension within a specified and targeted area or mandate zone.
Following a number of stakeholders’ meetings to deliberate on the importance and the mechanism of the mandate zonation approach, an agreement was reached on March 11, 2020 to pilot mandate zonation in 10 zones of the four major regions (Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR and Tigray) starting from the upcoming production season. A document that shows the implementation modalities and plan action along with the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be signed at zonal level were presented and discussed.
In general, the main objective of the piloting phase of mandate zonation for technology testing and validation was envisaged to generate key lessons that will allow the scaling up of the approach at national level. The strategic steps in institutionalization of mandate zonation for agricultural technology introduction, testing and validation agreed were:
- Overall leadership of facilitation, M&E and learning led by the MoA
- Lead piloting for the first three years with selected members
- Facilitate M&E learning among members of the National Agriculture Research System (NARS) and Regional BoA regularly;
- Develop details of the role and responsibilities of the members of the NARS and MoA/BoA/Zonal for their respective mandate zones;
- Design the national level institutionalization strategy of mandate zonation for technology introduction, testing and validation;
- Establish a link with respective BOA/Zonal and Woreda offices of agriculture for wider adoption of introduced, tested and validated technologies;
- Ensure the engagement of HLIs together with the MoSHE
- Regular documentation of agricultural technologies that are available and establishing a system for easy access to these identified technologies- led by EIAR and RARIs
- One of the challenges is lack of knowledge about existing agricultural technologies. This demands to establish a database;
- For crops, there is a national crop variety registry but limited information is available for other agricultural technologies;
- Once available technologies are known, initial multiplication based on demand for introduction, testing and verification will be made;
- Centralize exchange system of multiplied technologies among NARS members will be established either at national and/or regional level;
- The technology exchange actors like Public Seed Enterprises can be considered (ESE, ASE, OSE and SSE) to facilitate the process
- Mandate zonation of members of the NARS for testing and validation for respective members of the NARS,
- Pilot the approach in 10 zones;
- Details of the roles and responsibility of the mandated NARS member and the Zonal Office of Agriculture will be clearly defined with associated budget and human resource (HR) allocation;
- In case of presence of two or more members of the NARS, proper delineation of roles based on the areas of specialization will be made;
- Linking Farmer Training Centres (FTCs) with nearby mandated member of the NARS for ATITV; and
- Some members of the NARS will have wider (national or regional) mandate depending on respective role and responsibility of the national agricultural research system.
- Institutionalizing the process for responsibility sharing and accountability
- Development of detail procedures along with roles and responsibilities for cascading the mandate zonation all over the country;
- Clear linkage of the mandated member of the NARS with the zonal and woreda offices of agriculture – shared responsibility
- Ensuring the proper linkage of the mandated member of the NARS with ARDPLAC
- Ensuring the proper linkage of the mandated member of the NARS with FTC (s) found in each mandate zone;
- Regular evaluation of the progress made for effective learning and continuous learning at national, regional and zonal level; and
- As part of the activity under ADPLAC, regular updating to the constituencies of ADPLAC will be made.
BENEFIT Partnership programme will be actively engaged in the piloting process at federal level and lower level by engaging its implementing partners.