Category Archives: BENEFIT news

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.


BENEFIT Partnership launched new programme (BENEFIT-REALISE) to reach the chronic poor in Ethiopia

BENEFIT Partnership officially launched new BENEFIT-REALISE programme – Realising Sustainable Agricultural Livelihood Security in Ethiopia on August 24, 2018. The launching ceremony was officiated by the State Minister for Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resources (MoALR) H.E. Dr. Eyasu Abraha, and Mr. Thijs Woudstra, Head of Development Cooperation, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands (EKN) at Addis Ababa.  The three year programme aims to contribute to sustainable livelihoods through the introduction of improved farming practices, innovations and social experiments to strengthen the current Productive Safely Net Progamme (PSNP) in Ethiopia. The launching event was attended by over 50 participants representing government offices, implementing partners (universities), Agricultural Research Centers (ARCs), NGOs, WUR and BENEFIT Staff and the media.

Leveraging the last 7-8 experiences of BENEFIT-CASCAPE (Capacity building for Scaling up of evidence-based Practices in Agricultural Production) and BENEFIT-ISSD (Integrated Seed Sector Development), BENFIT-REALISE will validate Best Fit Practices, adapt and scale in PSNP woredas. Eight Ethiopian Universities are the main implementing partners (Haramaya University, Mekelle University, Hawassa University, Woldia University, Bahir Dar University, Arsi University, Arba Minch University, Oda Bultum University).  They will work closely with Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in Netherland, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resources (MoALR), Food Security Directorate and Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute (EARI.  The programme will cover 60 woredas in four regional states (Amhara, Tigray, Oromia and SNNPR) of Ethiopia.

Key performance indicators at outcome level include:

  • 60 best fit practices validated and ready for scaling and 90,000 farmers adopt best fit practices through extension systems in selected 60 woredas;
  • 120,000 farmers regularly use quality seed made available by seed producers in informal, intermediary and formal seed systems;
  • 250 research and extension systems staff are capacitated to match, adapt, validate and scale best fit practices; and
  • 15 presentations of evidence-based programme results well received by relevant stakeholders and discussed at national and regional stakeholder platforms.


BENEFIT-REALISE programme is funded by Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands (EKN) for a total of 8.6 Million Euro.

“REALISE working in PSNP areas is a challenge and an opportunity. It is a challenge since the project will be working with the rural poor facing chronic food insecurity who depended on aid for years.  It is an opportunity to identify innovative ways we can promote to build resilience and build assets so that more farmers can graduate from the PSNP program.” H.E. Eyasu Abraha, State Minister of MOALR

“Key to success is understanding the local context and winning the heart of the farmers since they are the executioners. The prospects are enormous and EKN is willing to continue its support through its development cooperation programme following its aid-trade-investment model.” and Mr. Thijs Woudstra, Head of Development Cooperation, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands (EKN)

BENEFIT-REALISE grouped pics

BENEFIT Newsletter (January-June 2018)

We are pleased to share with you, BENEFIT Newsletter for January-June 2018.  In this issue, we bring you highlights of stories, updates and news about our initiatives implemented by BENEFIT Partnership that unites four programmes – ISSD, CASCAPE, ENTAG and SBN.  Some of the topics covered include BENEFIT Partnership influencing sector policies and institutional arrangements, Leveraging opportunities to empower women in Seed Producer Cooperatives (SPCs), Effective learning through strategic capacity development and cascading approach, Addressing trade barriers levied by India and Pakistan: the case of Methly-bromideScaling loan guarantees to alleviate financial constraints for sesame growersImproving collaboration in mainstreaming social inclusion and nutrition, BENEFIT-REALISE (Realizing Agricultural Livelihood Security in Ethiopia): new BENEFIT  programme reaching the chronic food insecure farmers in Ethiopia, BENEFIT-CASCPAE & ISSD collaboration for home garden intervention in Ethiopia, etc .

BENEFIT Newsletter (January-June 2018)

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