High-level officials and key partners visited BENEFIT-REALISE Hawassa University cluster intervention areas

On November 23, 2020, BENEFIT-REALISE Hawassa University cluster organized field visit to its intervention areas in Kachabira woreda of Kambata Tambaro Zone in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR). The visit was organized for members of the Regional Senior Institutional Advisors, SNNPR Bureau of Agriculture (BoA) officials and experts, Kambata Tambaro zone department of agriculture, Kachabira woreda office of agriculture, and the surrounding farmers.

The delegation included Dr. Agdew Bekele, Director General of Southern Agriculture Research Institute (SARI), who is also a member of Regional Senior Institutional Advisors, and Dr. Tekle Wogayehu, Vice President of Arba Minch University Research and Community Service. Ato Gizachew Walera, Head of Kachabira office of agriculture welcomed the participants and appreciated the programme’s support to the government effort towards improving the food security of PSNP households. Dr. Ayano Beraso, President of Hawassa University and Chairperson of the Regional Senior Institutional Advisors officially opened the field visit highlighting the success of the programme in demonstrating and piloting innovations that are already improving the livelihood of PSNP farmers. He added that scaling and ensuring continued use of these innovations is the responsibility of local institutions. 

Dr. Tewodros Tefera, BENEFIT-REALISE Manager gave a briefing on the role and focus areas of the BENEFIT-REALISE programme: food security, nutrition, capacity building, youth unemployment and addressing structural institutional bottlenecks that hinder progress. He gave an example of the pro-model farmers’ extension approach that excludes poor farmers and the programme’s ‘one-timad’ package that is an extension approach that is designed for resource poor farmers including PSNP beneficiaries.

Prof. Tesfaye Abebe, BENEFIT-REALISE Hawassa University cluster Manager, gave an overview of the cluster activities in 2020 that included 3 demonstrations, 12 pre-scaling and 3 seed and pilot activities. The cluster was able to reach 8791 farmers directly, benefiting 35055 farmers indirectly through field visits and experience sharing. In total, 43846 farmers benefited directly and indirectly.  

Posters presentations were given by BENEFIT-REALISE Hawassa cluster experts covering all activities in the 7 woredas of Sidama and SNNP regions. In addition, ongoing interventions, which include demonstration of triticale, and pre-scaling of faba bean and food barley on farmers’ field and farmers’ training centers (FTCs) in two kebeles were visited.

During the discussion session chaired by Dr. Ayano Beraso and Dr. Tewodros Tefera, the farmers talked about the livelihood improvement they witnessed by applying the best fit practices (BFPs) promoted by the programme. Consensus was reached not to replace wheat with triticale in the high wheat potential areas, and only to promote it in its niche where stresses (like extreme pH levels, poor soil fertility, etc.) are prevalent and not suitable for wheat production. Hawassa University, BoA, Kambatana Tambaro zone department of agriculture, and Kachabira woreda office agriculture promised to play their role to ensure continued use of these BFPs and work on institutionalizing them. In 2-3 months, the programme plans to organize a regional workshop to handover and promote the institutionalization of its promising achievements.

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