Category Archives: Other

BENEFIT-REALISE conducted Integrated Pest Management (IPM) training

BENEFIT-REALISE Programme conducted a training on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) from August 13-15, 2019 at Dallol Hotel, Adama. The training was attended by 24 participants, mostly composed of REALISE Cluster experts working on seed, agronomy and scaling up of best fit practices. Two of the participants were invited from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. IPM was selected following a stakeholders and REALISE cluster experts training needs assessment. The purpose of the training was to build the understanding of experts on types of major diseases and insect pests of crops, their causes, diagnosis and management options.

The training included field level experience sharing from REALISE clusters and the Ministry of Agriculture, lectures, questions and discussion session, group work and field excursion.

The lectures were given by Professor Emana Getu, a Professor of Entomology at Addis Ababa University and Dr. Fikre Handoro, who was a Senior Pathologist at Southern Agricultural Research Institute.  Principles and use of IPM was the central focus of the training. To ensure the safety of human beings and that of the environment, it was clearly discussed and consensus built that BENEFIT-REALISE programme uses and promotes IPM where use of commercial pesticides comes as a last option. The plenary discussions focused on ground level insect pest and diseases that the clusters are facing and recommended courses of action to address the problems. During group work session cluster experts developed an Integrated Pest Management strategy to address priority diseases and insect pests problems in their specific context.

On August 15, 2019, a field visit was arranged to visit Melkassa Agricultural Research Center to see disease and pest problems and their symptoms on crop stands and discuss with resource persons. This greatly helped the participants to understand the nature of insect pests and diagnose diseases. The field excursion also included a visit to Eteya Farmers Service Center, a private agro dealer supplying different pesticides (herbicides, insecticides and fungicides), liquid fertilizers, farm tools and other farm related services to farmers in Eteya Woreda and the surrounding areas. Here, participants were able to discuss with the manager of the service center, see chemical spraying gears, appropriate storage facilities, proper labeling of packages, and the like.

Overall, the training was successful as it provided an appropriate forum to discuss different crop insect pests and disease problems at cluster level and the recommended course of action to address them. Participants acknowledged that the training was needed and relevant as it helps them to provide proper advice and guidance to farmers in the event of insect pest and disease occurring.

By Addisalem Ambaye Tadesse, and Mulugeta D. Chimsa  

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.

BENEFIT Partnership playing active role towards producing better citizen generated data for SDG indicators

On July 29 – August 4 2019, BENEFIT participated in Training of Trainers on Citizen-Generated Data for SDG indicators organized by UN Women. The main objective was to encourage better participation of Ethiopian non-governmental organizations to generate and analyze data for evidence-based advocacy and lobbying and to enhance Ethiopian non-governmental organizations familiarity in the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.

The ToT undertaken for the first time was attended by 35 non-governmental organizations working in different development issues and professional associations. It was facilitated by the African Monitor based in South Africa that has experience in implementing and facilitating citizen generated data for SDG goals indicators in ten African counties.

As way forward, five representatives from different non-governmental organizations were given an assignment to establish a National level network to facilitate engagement of non-governmental organizations in the process for engaging citizens to better produce citizen generated data which could lead to alternative joint report. BENEFIT Partnership was one of the five committee members selected. This is a great opportunity to share BENEFIT experiences with various stakeholders.

Seed Producer Cooperatives benefit from crop insurance in eastern part of Ethiopia

Towards strengthening the stability of Seed Producer Cooperatives (SPCs) and protect them against losses caused by crop failure, one of BENEFIT-ISSD’s activities focus on piloting crop insurance for SPCs. Following an agreement made in 2017 between Chercher Odabultum Farmers’ Cooperative Unions (COBFCU) and the Oromia Insurance Company (OIC), Daro Gora SPC collected the first payment due to very poor 2018 rainfall performance in West Hararghe Zone. The payment that was based on Multiple peril crop insurance (MPCI), was worth about 900,000 Birr for a partial claim of 40% crop failure on 80ha of land.

The agreement covered three SPCs (Daro Gora, Milkessa Lafto Goba and Misoma Gudina) and was made with a 450,000 Birr capital to claim 9 million recoveries for complete loss that may happen in 2018. A total of 420 SPC members who were directly affected received payment from 1700 birr to 7775 birr. Farmers who benefited from this pilot insurance scheme noted that the effort has increased their confidence and commitment to make long term plans for their seed business.

ISSD insuarnce pic2

“I never thought insurance was available for farmers and crops,” said Kebede Ogecho, Daro Gora SPC members in Guba Koricha, father of eight. “We thank the Union for facilitating this insurance scheme. This initiative created motivation among members and non-members to invest more in seed production business”.

 

A guide to transform the national seed sector in Ethiopia

The National Seed Advisory Group (NSAG), together with the Seed Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) developed a document to guide and align the efforts of policy makers, development partners and practitioners towards transforming the national seed sector in Ethiopia. It covers the assessment of the current status of the seed sector and identifies major challenges along with strategic interventions to transform each of the seed sector key pillars, considering seed production, marketing, services, regulation, revenue generation, and overall coordination of the seed system. The document was developed by diverse organizations, among then BENEFIT-ISSD, and validated through stakeholders’ consultations at several fora. (Download the document here)  

Enabling private seed producers produce disease free potato mini-tuber

Even though potato is a high potential crop that contributes to food security, its productivity is very low in Ethiopia. Lack of disease free quality seed and especially the occurrence of bacterial wilt is a major challenge since the majority of farmers use farm saved potato seed from the local market or through seed exchange. The recent ISSD and ENTAG collaborative effort towards addressing this major limiting factor focused on provision of grants to a competitive private seed producer to produce and supply disease free quality potato minituber using screen house and drip irrigation technologies. ENTAG provided 25,000 Euro grant for Loma Azmir private seed producer one of the 4 direct private companies supported by ISSD Amhara unit since 2016.

Loma Azmir is expected to become one of the best seed producer companies of the region through the adoption and utilization of improved, efficient agricultural technologies and expect to contribute much for the seed sector development.

The production started with a construction of 15 m X 8m X 3 (Length, width and height) screen house and 8mx6mx5m Diffused Light Store (DLS) in the potato potential areas of East Gojam zone, Michael woreda, Amanuel kebele. The standard screen house is built with mush wire, cemented floor and uses ground water. It is equipped with drip pipes, hydraulically operated and diaphragm-actuated control valves and other components.

The potato mini-tuber, Dagem, Jaleni and Gudeni varieties were planted in 1500 pots. The producer is expected to produce 400 quintals of certified quality seed benefiting about 80 farmers in the initial stage (assuming that the average land holding for potato is 0.25 ha per farmer). Loma Azmir recruited one expert specialized in agronomy, and constructed the store and office in the farm site.

While ENTAG contributed by allocating the grant, ISSD Amhara unit supported the seed producer in creating linkage with (plant supplier, Woreda office of agriculture, quality regulatory authority and Adate Agricultural Research Center) and facilitated linkage with Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara Region (ORDA) to get  mini-tuber, and provided technical support at field level.        

AGOA – NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR THE SPICE AND HERBS SECTOR

Ethiopia offers numerous advantages to foreign investors interested in using Ethiopia as a springboard to reach the U.S. market. This is reflected in the recent growth of Ethiopia’s exports under African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), particularly in the textiles and apparel sector. Taking advantage of the recently-renewed (AGOA) legislation up to 2025, Ethiopia developed a National AGOA Strategy and Action Plan 2019-2025.

As key partners in the strategy development process, ENTAG through the Ethiopian Spice Aromatic and Herbs Growers and Processors Association (ESAHGPA) made valuable contributions to ensure inclusion of spice and herbs on the list of products along with cut flower, edible oil (sesame) and coffee. This is believed to play a vital role in attracting more foreign and local investors to invest in the Ethiopian spice and herbs sector to exploit the 2.4 billion USD spice and herbs market using taking advantage of tax free AGOA.

 

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