Category Archives: BENEFIT news

Contribution to the development of a national seed sector transformation agenda

BENEFIT-ISSD, Integrated Seed Sector Development in Ethiopia held a two-day workshop to contribute to the national seed sector transformation agenda and support regional seed core groups translate the recommendations into their unique situations across the regions.  Over 25 participants from four regional states of Ethiopia (Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR and Tigray), representing Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), regional core groups and federal seed unit, research institutes, bureaus of agriculture, seed regulatory bodies, seed enterprises, ATA, and NGOs (GIZ), and ISSD staffs attended the workshop. It was held on November 29 and 30, 2018 in Bishoftu, Pyramid Resort &Hotel and facilitated by team members of ISSD Ethiopia from Programme Management Unit (PMU) based in Addis Ababa. The workshop was a great success in creating a platform to share expertise and experiences, debate over priorities for change, and collectively agree on next step forward to bring transformational change.

ISSD’s discussion on seed sector transformation started in April 2018. The overall purpose was to better understand the seed sector, and formulate a joint vision, goals and strategies towards a self-sufficient, competitive, transparent, innovative and sustainable seed sector.  The workshop brought together key seed actors to discuss ways to bring fundamental structural and system changes to alleviate systemic problems in the seed sector. This workshop was organized as a follow up to further refine the recommendations from April’s meeting and present it to the newly appointed State Minister of MoA, H.E. Sani Reddi, for further discussion.

The first day morning session devoted to learn and discuss about three ISSD seed value chain innovations.  The “Seed Marketing – enhancing the efficiency of conventional seed marketing” presentation summarized the work that has been done in 2018. The “Sustainable Early Generation Seed (EGS) production and supply in Ethiopia” covered the progress made in the last two years, while “Establishing seed sector coordination body in Ethiopia” highlighted the need for coordinated and collective effort to drive the seed sector transformation agenda.

In the afternoon session, following the sector transformation framework developed by AidEnvironment, the participants were divided into 3 working groups to validate the goals and strategies drafted under six building blocks – production, market, services, finance, coordination and regulation and management.  The amendments proposed were discussed in plenary, and those changes agreed upon were incorporated to be presented for extended consultation with federal representatives the following day.

The second day was dedicated to further validate and refine the goals and strategies with representatives from federal MoA, ATA, EIAR and GIZ, and present the agreed upon outcome to H.E. H.E. Sani Reddi.  The workshop ended with agreement on next steps proposed by the State Minister, and his affirmation on the government’s commitment to work on the agreed upon priorities to transform the seed sector which is imperative to transforming the agriculture sector.

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Facilitating market linkages for soybean buyers and sellers

BENEFIT partnership conducted the 5th Soya Bean Trading Platform meeting to facilitate market linkages between domestic processors, exporters, and union on December 6, 2018 at Momona Hotel in Addis Ababa. The meeting jointly organized by BENEFIT-ENTAG, BENEFIT-CASCAPE and BENEFIT-ISSD was attended by 31 participants representing food and feed processors, exporters, and unions.

During the Business to Business (B2B) session it was found that the demand for soya bean is three folds higher than the potential supply indicated by the unions. The possibility of working through contract agreements between the buyers and the unions in the near future was discussed.

Limitedness of the production, institutionalization of the sub-sector, price volatility and access to finance for unions and honouring contract and promises were the key constraints raised for effective business linkages. It was also suggested that actors supporting the production are expected to push the agriculture sector to give more attention for soya bean like other cereal crops. For institutionalization, it was proposed for soybean to be included as legume crops to join the pulses council that is under establishment.

Overall the event was successful in bringing sellers and buyers under the same roof to discuss and address their business concerns and find better way of working together.

By Selamawit and Yemisrach

BENEFIT-CASCAPE organized high level policy field excursion with members of parliament

On October 1-2, 2018, BENEFIT-CASCAPE in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resources (MoALR) organized a high level policy field excursion to visit CASCAPE scaling-up support activities around Hawassa.  The field visit was followed by a one day panel discussion on policy and research implications of CASCAPE results, to inform and sensitize stakeholders on the challenges related to agriculture scaling and determine how each organization can contribute towards an efficient technology transfer in the agriculture sector. Over forty high level officials were in attendance including agricultural affairs standing committee of the members of the parliament, Federal MoALR and bureaus of agriculture (extension), dignitaries from Ethiopian Agricultural research Institute (EIAR), Regional Research Institutes (RARIs), and the media.

On the morning of October 1, the delegation traveled 5 0km from Hawassa to visit two CASCAPE intervention woredas (Boricha and Shebedino) where malt barley innovation was scaled introduced. At the beginning of the visit, CASCAPE Hawassa cluster team gave poster presentations on the programme approach and successes stories in testing, validating, piloting and scaling malt barley, maize, desho grass, common bean and faba bean. They also talked about the programme activities in mainstreaming gender and nutrition, capacity development and creating enabling environments.

During the field visit, the group heard testimonies from three farmers who explained the process and what have been achieved in the last few years.

CASCAPE field visit kisela.jpgKelisa Kassa, 42, a farmer in Boricha woreda said “We used to grow traditional barley varieties which yielded low and there was no market for it. The CASCAPE project introduced the Eboni variety (improved malt barley seed), and helped as form seed producer cooperative. Our group is composed of 20 members and received not only improved seed that is high yielding and takes only four months to mature, but we were trained and received support in the production process. We learned the importance of treating soil acidity with lime two months before planting, to plough the land three times, and weed at least 3 times before harvest. Our produce is sold to grain producers on premium price who also sale the grain to Assela malt factory at premium price. Our income has improved and we are now able to send our children to school. I started to save money and hope to build a house in town soon”.

However, supply of quality seed for Eboni variety remains a problem because it is not included in the extension package. To resolve this issue, CASCAPE team have tried to link them with the regional  Seed Enterprise, who  is responsible for seed quality inspection and provides continuous support to the cooperatives. Following seed quality inspection those that are in good condition are sold to AGP and the woreda to be distributed to farmers in the area, while the remaining is sold as grain to farmers linked to Assela Beer factory. The extension head of the BoA also confirmed that Eboni variety will be included in the extension package since the field evidence is so compelling.

At the end of the visit, the farmers were given an opportunity to raise questions, where issues related to quality seed shortage, storage and finance were briefly discussed.

The next day panel discussion was relevant to better understand the key issues in technology transfer particularly in scaling, and link key stakeholders (policy makers, researchers, universities..) to work together to resolve the major challenges at different levels. Key issues discussed included how to ensure sustainability through institutionalization, strengthening linkage among researchers, universities and the extension system, how to address availability and quality seed issues and the great need to work on specific fertilizer recommendations that takes soil health and management into consideration.

The event received wide national and regional media coverage.

 

BENEFIT organized field visits to promote best practices of sorghum and sesame

On September 29 and 30th, 2018, BENEFIT programmes (ISSD, CASCAPE and SBN) in collaboration with Western Tigray Zone Department of Agriculture and Humera Agricultural Research Center (HuARC) organized field visits to showcase the success achieved in using best practices of sorghum and sesame. Over 200 individuals including farmers, agricultural professionals, researchers, and government officials attended the event. The visit were followed by a discussion to better understand the major challenges farmers face and provide the necessary support to ensure scalability and sustainability.

The field day was organized in Kafta Humera and Asgede Tsimbla woredas. The participants visited a Farmer Training Center (FTC) where BENEFIT conducted Participatory Variety Selection (PVS) to support farmers identify improved and better-performing sorghum varieties for the locality; and demonstrated improved sesame, mung bean, soya bean, and sorghum technologies.  The group also visited a commercial farmer plot to see what can be achieved with the use of the right technology. In addition, the participants were able to compare sesame production with and without fertilizer, and see how planting time and poor farming management are major reasons for poor performance.

During the discussion, farmers appreciated the lessons learned during the visit. Major challenges raised included pest and disease infestation, inaccessibility of sesame row planter; marketing and post-harvest handling problem (mung bean), and shortage of inputs such as improved seed varieties and chemicals.

In the end, Mr. Fiseha Bezabih, deputy head of Tigray BoA closed the event by appreciating and  highlighting the importance joint action in addressing the major challenges of the agriculture sector.

 

 

 

BENEFIT-Partnership: Results of the mid-term evaluation

BENEFIT Partnership conducted a mid-term review to assess the relevance, effectiveness and sustainability of the current BENEFIT Partnership.  In general, the evaluation shows that the four BENEFIT programmes (ISSD, CASCAPE, ENTAG and SBN) are on track to achieve most of their end targets and the results in terms of reach and creating an enabling environment are likely to exceed the original expectations. At the same time, the management of the partnership has been more complex than expected and collaboration on the ground is still relatively small compared to the full scope of the individual programmes. You can find summary of the MTR findings here.

 

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