BENEFIT-REALISE gave a briefing on ‘One Timad’ package for the Ministry of Agriculture Extension Directorate

On March 18, 2021, BENEFIT-REALISE programme gave a briefing on ‘One Timad’ package, to build a better understanding of the package among MoA Extension Directorate staff members and discuss way forward towards institutionalizing the approach in the existing extension system. The briefing was attended by over 20 participants from MoA and the programme staff.

The ‘One Timad Package’ (OTP) was introduced by the BENEFIT-REALISE programme in 2019 and piloted by its eight implementing partners, (eight university clusters) in 23 woredas on 7 crops. The phrase ‘one timad’ refers to 1/4th of a hectare and the OTP package consists of the recommended amount of seed for the plot size with half of the recommended chemical fertilizer dose and half organic fertilizer prepared at home (composts or farm yard manure). The main objectives of the OTP were to (1) downscale the package size of fertilizer (half organic fertilizer) to match the need and capacity of PSNP households; (2) provide PSNP farmers access to improved practices by avoiding the capacity limitation imposed by large technology packages; (3) minimize farmers’ risk in taking up new technologies by introducing proven technologies at the right (small) scale, with adequate hands-on training and follow-up; and (4) demonstrate the need to customize extension packages that match the capacity and needs of PSNP farmers with small landholdings. Using compost also contributes to the carbon content of the soil and thus the water holding capacity of the soil. This in turn acts as a climate change mitigation measure.

The meeting was opened by Yenenesh Egu, Director of Agricultural Extension in MoA, who highlighted the relevant of this meeting to ensure our extension service reach smallholder farmers who find the current standardize package for 1ha, costly and unaffordable. She noted, she has been involved in the implementation process from the beginning and is eager to start expanding the practice and embed it into the extension system to reach many poor farmers with less than 1ha farm land. Discussions are underway and manuals are being developed to facilitate the process and this briefing is relevant to inform our staff and build a better understanding of the package. 

Dr.  Mulugeta Doro, Deputy Director of BENEFIT-REALISE presented the overall objectives of the programme and the different component of ‘One Timad’ package, achievements, challenges and lessons learned. The programme has been working in 23 PSNP woredas on crops relevant to food security and nutrition. Four ‘One Timad’ package manuals that outlines the agrocology requirements, production and harvest practices are being developed. The packages for bread wheat, sweet potato and faba bean were presented in detail.

The programme experience showed that PSNP farmers have a means to ensure food self-efficiency with just one Timad of land. A table that shows how much land a family of five needs to meet their daily need of 2100calories in a year, per crop was shared. The table also showed land sizes required to grow different crops for market to buy a year supply of maize to fulfill the daily calories of five family members.

Discussion highlights

Added value of the ‘One Timad’ package: There was a lengthy discussion on the added value of ‘One Timad’ extension package. There was an agreement, the package (i) will allow the extension address the specific challenges of a big segment of the farming population – 2.5 million PSNP households (8 million beneficiaries), smallholder farmers who own fragmented, degraded (less than 1ha) farmland and live in moisture stressed areas not suitable for commercialization; (ii) encourage smallholder farmers who shy away from adopting new technologies due to unaffordability; (iii) provide basket of options to accommodate specialization and diversification, even among farmers with big land; (iii) encourage expansion of pulse and oil crop seed and other high value crops; (iv) contribute to assurance of seed and fertilizer quality by minimizing re-distribution and re-selling from big packs; and (v) has social benefit, utilization of family labor

Approach and communication: Dr. Tewodros Tefera, BENEFIT-REALISE Manager noted, one of the key success factors of this approach is the institutional setup where research, extension and universities worked together starting from planning throughout the implementation process. The OTP ensure inclusiveness and addresses marginalized farmers such as economically weak farmers, landless farmers who practice share cropping and contract farming and women farmers who have limited means to participate in the conventional extension package. He stated that REALISE programme demonstrate OTP in FTCs, provided practical trainings, intensive follow up, organized field days, and distributed mini leaflets to communicate the OTP extension message etc.

Yenenesh added considering that the extension directorate only accepts packages approved by the research institutes this was a critical element. She appreciated the smooth working relation among the three institutions and added the need to think how to cascade the learning to the ground level.      

Development of manual and extension packages: BENEFIT-REALISE has prepared four ‘One Timad’ packages so far (sweet potato, faba beans, bread wheat, Irish potato and sorghum). Looking at the outline of the documents, it was decided the documents are more of ‘best practice manuals’, and would be valuable inputs in the development of the national extension packages. Customized packages (regional and other) should follow the national standardized national package.

Other questions and discussion focused on the need to reconcile the difference in seed and fertilizer recommendations between national and regional packages, revisiting use of vermicomposting, considering its time consuming and intensive process, the impact of ‘one timad’ package on soil fertility etc.

Institutionalization and way forward: Dr. Tewodros highlighted the need to ensure the approach gets a buy-in from key stakeholders. He noted this is the third meeting held to popularize the approach and suggested the following next steps to facilitate the institutionalization process.

  1. Convene high level key stakeholders meeting to share the achievements of ‘One Timad’ package and agree on responsible bodies to regulate the institutionalization process. The invitation should include state ministers, cooperative offices, job creation, input providers, chemical and agro dealers etc.
  2. Following the finalization of the manuals on ‘one Timad’ and other best practices, the programme will submit them to the extension directorate with a formal letter. The programme staff is available to support the team assigned to develop the extension package and standardize the approach.

Yenenesh closed the meeting by recognizing that it is time to expand our extension service and work on customizing and providing different packages that meet the specific needs of smallholder farmers. She committed to organize the high level meeting and keep the interaction going towards institutionalization.

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