Category Archives: CASCAPE news

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.

 

Using recommendation mapping for the purpose of scaling CASCAPE best fit innovations in Ethiopia

BENEFIT-CASCAPE is developing a methodological tool that allows users generate maps that show how and where best fit innovations can be scaled in specific areas. The recommendation domain mapping method is a GIS based multi-criteria evaluation tool that builds on the suitability of each innovation taking biophysical aptitude, and socio-economic feasibility aspects into account.

Following the testing of the tool in 2017, a decision was made to capacitate CASCAPE scaling experts in two regional centers of excellence (linked to the universities of Addis Ababa and Mekele). The first of the three trainings planned for 2018,  was held on May 7-11 at Azeeman Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on “Mapping CASCAPE innovation recommendation domains – training session 1”. The training was facilitated by Andrew Farrow (GeAgrofía) and Herman Agricola from WUR. Five biophysical and socio-economists experts from Mekele University and two from Addis Ababa University attended that training.

Topics covered included:

  1. Introduction to recommendation domain mapping
  2. Underlying principles (Fuzzy logic, Script writing, AHP)
  3. Installing open source software
  4. Fundamentals of R within recommendation mapping and practical hands on exercises
  5. Accessibility modelling in QGIS
  6. Definition of activities to be carried out before next training session

The training used a stepwise method that included reviewing existing recommendation maps and the models used to create them; identifying new innovations in the same woreda to take advantage of the data already collected; consideration of existing innovations (with the same rules and membership functions) in a new woredas and maping new innovations in new woredas.

The next training is planned for 11th– 15th June 2018.

CASCAPE Data Analysis and Synthesis Workshop: Changing Data into Information and Wisdom

Contributed by: Selome Kebede, BENEFIT Senior Communication Officer

BENEFIT-CASCAPE held a Data Analysis and Synthesis Workshop on April 16-19/2018, at South Star International Hotel in Hawassa. The four-day workshop was attended by twenty national and cluster staff members and focused on reviewing three sets of data collected in CASCAPE phase I and II. The training was the first of three trainings planned for 2018-2019 with the aim of turning data into information and information into wisdom. It was facilitated by Hanneke Heesmans from WUR and Peter Okoth, a consultant and soil science expert from Kenya with overall leadership of Eyasu and Eric as programe managers.

The first day of the workshop was dedicated to better understanding what good data vs just data means, steps to move from data to information, unblackboxing fieldwork data into output, outcome and impact level,  effective communication from data and using proper analytical tools and sharp eyes to analyze, synthesize, and communicate. Presentations were given by the facilitator and the consultant, Prof. Eric Smaling, CASCAPE Coordinator from WUR, NMPU (National Management Program Unit) and Cluster Managers. The participants learned steps towards assessing data quality, cross fertilization, and how to interpret and transfer data collected into a story that helps to gain insight.

The main data sets selected for the workshop were Drivers for Adoption (D4A), MonQIt and Fertilizer experiments (agronomic data). Enough time was allocated to identify gaps in existing data and reach an agreement on way forward until the second workshop planned for mid-October.

D4A data collection started in 2011 upon a special request from the MoANR to better understand drivers and inhibitors of adoption of crop technologies and fertilizers. Crops and technologies considered, the results, summary of conclusions and implications were presented and how to use the data and conclusions further reached was discussed.

The MonQIt data session presentation and discussion focused on how to relate MonQIt data with D4A or Vis versa.  Many examples were provided on how to ask the right question and use graphs to see if there is correlation, consistency, variations and exceptions and dig further to address key issues. During the group work, the participants exercised on how to use MonQIt to generate results that can inform our strategies and identify actionable outputs and agreed to conduct MonQIT data cleaning and correlation with D4A data in the coming months.

Prof. Eric Smaling, CASCAPE Coordinator from WUR and Dr. Eyasu Elias, CASCAPE Manager in Ethiopia     closed the workshop by appreciating the level of participation, energy and enthusiasm shown by the participants, and the guidance from the facilitator and consultant. They encouraged everyone to use the credibility achieved so far to dig into our data and identify low lying fruits that can be summarized and communicated to the extent where each audience is served appropriately. They noted this is the first in a series of training towards changing data into information to wisdom.

Overall the workshop was a big success in shifting the mindset of CASCAPE staffs from action oriented effort to pragmatic and systematic engagement that showcase CASCAPE interventions, maximize exposure and to contribute to the development and food security of the country.

Blended fertilizer recommendation issues

Contributed by Mulugeta Diro(PhD)

BENEFIT- CASCAPE together with Soil Fertility Director of MoANR organized soil fertility platform meeting. The platform meeting was conducted on October 17, 2017 at Executive hotel, Adama. After involved in sites and crop specific blended fertilizer recommendation , BENEFIT-CASCAPE commissioned  a study to understand issues and constraints related to blend fertilizer recommendation and this meeting was organized to share and discusses the findings of the study to stakeholders.

Results of the study on issues and constraints related to blend fertilizer recommendation was presented to plenary by BENEFIT-CASCAPE and several questions and comments were raised and discussed. During the discussion time the main issued discussed and emphasesed was about the ‘critical value’ approach currently being adopted  which was found mainly misleading after soil test result in some areas. Large areas of the Ethiopian highlands are  labelled deficient of some major nutrients such as potassium and Boron, which is not consistent with soil test results conductd by BENEFIT-CASCAPE programme. In addition, blend fertilizer recommendations are still blanket and needs to be refined. Validation of critical levels is needed specific to crop type based on crop response trials and plant tissue analysis.

During the meeting it was agreed that have further discussion among relevant stakeholders on issues and constraints related to blend fertilizer recommendation. As a result, Soil Fertility Directorate of MoANR agreed to establish a taskforce to have such discussion.

Over 70 participants drawn from agricultural research institutes (EIAR & RARIs), MoANR, CGIAR, NGOs and private consultants participated in the platform meeting.