Category Archives: CASCAPE news

Towards institutionalizing BENEFIT-CASCAPE Best Fit Practices in the Ethiopian agriculture system

From July 16-19, 2019 BENEFIT-CASCAPE held Best Fit Practices (BFPs) manual review and evaluation workshop at Bin Hotel, Bishoftu.  The workshop was attended by 29 participants from Ministry of Agriculture (representing agricultural extension, crop production, horticultural development, animal feed, mechanization and soil fertility directorates), Ethiopian Institute of Agriculture Research (EIAR) and CASCAPE staff.

Prior to the workshop, twenty six BFP manuals prepared by five universities clusters were edited, revised.  This workshop was relevant to review/evaluate/revise these manuals with relevant stakeholders before its dissemination to end users towards institutionalization of the manuals in the agricultural system.  The workshop was successful in collecting comments and suggestions to enrich the manual; create awareness of the manuals to experts (extension and research system) and identify practices to be included in the extension package (e.g. fertilizer rate, spacing).  Different future research and development thematic areas were also identified (e.g. the effect of lime and Rhizobium on next year crop yield using fixed plot approach).

Over all, the participants acknowledged and appreciated the effort and agreed to use them in the extension system.  At the end, with the leadership of CASCAPE and the extension directorate, a team was formed to follow up on comments and handover the manuals to high-level officials of MoA at the end of September, 2019.

Contribution of BENEFIT-CASCAPE’s Wheat Best Fit Practice to National Wheat Self-Sufficiency

In spite of their significant contribution to boost production and productivity of farmers, most of the agricultural technologies developed by the research system have not adequately reached its beneficiaries. It is estimated that only about 31 percent of smallholder farmers are using full package of improved practices. Some of the main reasons for low uptake of improved technologies are related to lack of farmer participation in the technology development process, and poor technology promotion approaches. Recognizing this, BENEFIT-CASCAPE uses innovation pathways to test, validate and scale best fit practices (BFPs).

In the case of wheat, BENEFIT-CASCAPE BFP has been assessed across Amhara, Oromia, South and Tigray regions. The pre-extension demonstration (PED) result shows that the average yield of wheat using BFP technologies is 4.9qt/ha while the local practices is 2.6qt/ha and the nation average being 2.7qt/ha. The yield advantage of BENEFIT-CASCAPE PED over local practices and national average is 88.46 and 75.00 %, respectively.

Considering that Ethiopia has 4.64 million smallholder farmers growing wheat on a total area of 1.7million ha of land, with an average production level of 2.7qt/ha, the national production volume is approximately 4.6million tons. This falls short of the domestic demand and thereby requiring for the government to import wheat to fill the existing gap. In 2018, Ethiopia imported 3.7 million tons to meet the total national consumption level of 8.3 million tons.

Based on the results of BENEFIT-CASCAPE PED, Ethiopia can indeed produce the 8.2 million tons of wheat needed for national consumption (4.9qt/ha ∗ 1.7 million ha=8.33), Hence, the overall adoption of best fit practice of wheat in the wheat-growing area of Ethiopia would bridge the gap to national wheat self-sufficiency.

Contributed by Akalu Teshome, PhD – BENEFIT-CASCAPE Socio-Economic Expert 

 

 

BENEFIT’s contribution to gender responsive agricultural mechanization

A National Gender in Agricultural Mechanization Workshop was organized by the Ethiopian Network for Gender Equality in Agriculture (ENGEA) on 6 – 7 June 2019 at the Radison Blue Hotel in Addis Ababa. The ENGEA is led by the Ministry of Agriculture Women, Children and Youth Affairs Directorate. The workshop brought together professionals from the government, knowledge institutions, practitioners (civil society and private sector actors), UN agencies, and the media to discuss the national agricultural mechanization strategy and implementation, and share evidence-based research and practices, successes and challenges related to mainstreaming gender in agricultural mechanization.

The workshop was a follow up to the third agricultural mechanization forum where key stakeholders agreed to conduct policy gap analysis and identify evidence-based technology findings to inform the agricultural mechanization policy. This workshop was organized towards developing gender responsive national agricultural mechanization policy and discuss enforcement issues in the existing strategy.

As a member of ENGEA, BENEFIT presented two evidence based improved enset processing technologies (enset scraper and enset fermentation). The two technologies were tested and implemented by BENEFIT-CASCAPE in southern and south western part of Ethiopia. The technologies were especially appreciated since enset is drought tolerant crop that play key role in food security and the technologies potential to reduce women’s work burden. Participants agreed continuous research on enset processing technologies is crucial to address specific issues related to accessibility, affordability and maintenance. The relevance of engaging Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) extension department and mechanization department throughout the testing process to ensure sustainability and scaling was highlighted.

By Selamawit Firdissa, Gender & Nutrition Expert, BENEFIT PCU

 

 

Wageningen project in Ethiopia receives prize for agriculture and food

The Wageningen project ‘Innovation Mapping for Food Security’ (IM4FS) has won the Olam Prize from the French Agropolis Fondation.

The project does not only look at which crops can grow best in a given area, but also at the involved climate risks, markets and farmers’ loans. Using research data and IT, the project develops best-fit combinations of crops, soils and matching technology for farmers in marginal areas of Ethiopia. This project builds upon the Wageningen project BENEFIT-CASCAPE, which developed best fits for farmers in the fertile Rift Valley in Ethiopia. [Read more]

Congratulations to the winners of 2019 Agropolis Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize for Agriculture and Food

The 2019 Agropolis Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize for Agriculture and Food is awarded to Dr. Baldwyn Torto (International Centre of Insect Physiology & Ecology, Kenya) in the “Outstanding Career in Agricultural Development” category; Dr. Jan Leach (Colorado State University, USA) in the “Distinguished Scientist” category and Dr. Julius Adewopo (International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Rwanda) in the “Young Promising Scientist” category. The winners will receive a plaque certificate and prize of €20,000 each.

The 2019 Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security, has been awarded in parallel to the project “Innovation Mapping for Food Security – IM4FS” led by Dr. Tomaso Ceccarelli (Wageningen Environmental Research, The Netherlands) and Dr. Elias Eyasu Fantahun (Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia). The winning research project receives US$75,000 funding to support its further development.

The 2019 Award ceremony will be held in Montpellier (France) during the 4th World Congress on Agroforestry, the 22nd of May, 2019. [Read the full press release here]

FROM SUBSISTENCE TO COMMERCIALLY ORIENTED AGRICULTURE – Papaya production in Southern Zone of Tigray

One of BENEFIT-CASCAPE (CApacity building and SCAling up of evidence-based best Practices in Ethiopia) intervention, “Improved Papaya Production”, is changing the farm lands of Raya Azebo into income producing assets. Through innovative evidence based approach, effective partnership and continuous support, the drought prone area with unreliable rainfall has changed into pockets of oasis covered with fruits and vegetables. Today, many farmers have moved away from traditional food staples farming to becoming cash crop producers. They have regular source of income, diversified their crops improving their household food security, improved their nutritional status and managed to increase their productive assets. The following is a testimony of one family who succeeded in completely changing their lives through selection of the right commodity, improved variety, technology and management.  [Read the story here]

Research-Extension-University Linkage Platform Meeting Showed Promising Results

EIAR-MOA-CASCAPE joint workshop was organized to evaluate the results of large scale joint demonstration of agricultural technologies based on BENEFIT-CASCAPE piloted PAR (Participatory Action Research) approach. The workshop was held on March 12, 2019 at Executive Hotel, Adama. This is part of the research-extension university linkage platform which forms sub-platform of ADPLAC (Agriculture Development Partners Linkage Advisory Council) that was established based on CASCAPE-initiated programme of strengthening Research-Extension-University linkages.

The work towards strengthening collaboration and linkage between extension, research and higher learning institutes started in 2018 with a study commissioned by BENEFIT-CASCAPE in partnership with MOA to better understand the gaps in linkages between the three institutions. The findings of the assessment were shared with relevant stakeholders at “The Hawassa Convention” where EIAR was assigned to lead the effort. In May 2018, BENEFIT-CASCAPE organized a high level workshop at Beshouftu to identify missing links opportunities to ensure effective and efficient technology transfer. Since then, a series of meetings were conducted to turn lesson and opportunities into action, leading to the initiation of “High impact partnership project”. This is BENEFIT-CASCAPE ‘s efforts towards institutionalization of the Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach and institutional innovation that brings together researchers, extensionists and universities to work together for a better and lasting impact. With endorsement by the Minister of MoA and under direct supervision of the state minister, the Research-Extension-University linkage platform is now officially institutionalized within the MoA. CASCAPE will continue supporting the establishment of the regional platform as sub-set of the ADPLAC.

Since 2018, EIAR has been leading the sub-platform including setting up of large scale demonstrations on strategic commodities (maize, teff, wheat, malt barley, sesame and sorghum) on 100 ha per commodity per region for high level policy engagement and extension dissemination. Researchers in four regions (TARI, ARARI, OARI and SARI) were presenting the results of the 2018 demonstrations during the joint workshop in Adama (12-13 March 2019) and identify gaps, challenges and opportunities to be considered in the 2019 collaborative planning process.

The workshop was attended by over 70 experts and relevant stakeholders including MOA State Minister, EIAR Director General, presidents and deans of universities and BENEFIT-CASCAPE Manager and staff.  The meeting was relevant to appreciate and recognize the first attempt towards large scale full package demonstration to identify factors that affect scaling potential and promote sustained large-scale scaling of technologies that can transform the agriculture sector.

The project aims to design large-scale (atleast 100ha per commodity) geographic focused technology demonstrations to enhance technology dissemination and adoption, promote action research and complementarity, strengthen linkage between the three institutions and document best practice and experiences to promote joint learning. EIAR, RARIs and universities met in their respective regions to develop concept notes and action plans with budget requirements, signed MoUs that spells out the roles and responsibilities of each institution, made strategic selection of technologies, formed necessary teams to implement the selected interventions and conducted joint monitoring and evaluation.

The presentations highlighted the project was beneficial in establishing joint planning and advocacy, cost sharing, building joint capacity development of stakeholders, and conducting joint monitoring and learning. In total 23 technologies were demonstrated in 21 zones in large scale clusters.

The discussion in the afternoon focused on strengthening the approach and modalities, inclusion of horticulture, livestock, mechanization, labor saving technologies in future initiatives, efficient utilization of water resources, capitalizing on universities’ expertise and community service resources, sustainability of the forum, understanding scaling in terms of inputs, addressing acidic soil issues at national level, and forming linkages at regional levels etc.

Following the discussion, it was noted that last year’s planning was done hastily and the focus on crop was intentional considering this is the first year of the project. Other agricultural issues will be considered as linkage strengthens among the institutions. It was also highlighted that the key is not about signing MOUs but changing our way of thinking and working to address the critical issue that only 1/3 of available technologies are being adopted by the farming community. At the end the team agreed to extend their effort to engage more universities, include other regions and evaluate comments and feedbacks raised to refine their 2019 plan focusing on strength of each institution.

Overall the participants acknowledged and appreciated the new practice of using piloted approach to bring systematic change; accomplishments achieved in this first attempt; EIAR for its openness and leadership to take this initiative forward; and BENEFIT-CASCAPE for the critical role the programme played in initiating this effort and its intermediary role in linking research demonstration and extension level demonstration.

At the end, BENEFIT-CASCAPE affirmed its commitment to support this effort in the coming year and universities’ representatives promised to do their part to ensure the success and sustainably of this effort.

 

 

 

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