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.




Field day organized to boost the support of key stakeholders in sesame production

On September 17th, 2018, BENEFIT-SBN in collaboration with Gondar Agricultural Research Center (GARC), Central Gondar Zone Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) organized a field day to showcase scaling up activities of improved sesame and rotation production technologies conducted in the 2018 production season. Close to 400 people, including higher-level government officials from federal to woreda level and sesame farmers in Tach Armachiho and Tegede woredas attended the event.

The field day was a great opportunity to see the results of the collaboration effort on 240 hectares of land, where sesame yield doubled and tripled through applying improved production technology.  It was noted that, while using traditional practice brings 2-4 quintals per hectare, the new improved sesame and rotation production technology showed the possibility of harvesting more than eight quintals of sesame per hectare. The participants also visited soya bean production in small-scale and large-scale farms and discussed challenges and way forward on both crops.

In recognition of the zonal effort in the sesame sector, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resource (MoALR) awarded two sesame harvesting machines to GARC. Read more

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.


Dairy Business Information Service and Support (DairyBISS) Business Plan Competition

As part of BENEFIT (Bilateral Ethiopia Netherlands Effort for Food, Income and Trade), Dairy Business Information Service and Support (DairyBISS) project is organizing a Business Plan Competition for dairy advisors who are working as consultant/ freelance in Ethiopia dairy sector.

The business plan completion is prepared to encourage those trained in DairyBISS advisor training programs and freelance consultants to innovate business cases that could address systemic challenges of the commercial dairy sector to achieve high and consistent performance in their business; and create linkage between dairy advisors and potential dairy business and market to translate these innovative ideas into reality.

For more information and to apply click here

BENEFIT-ISSD provided training to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of seed quality control

BENEFIT–ISSD Ethiopia programme organized a training for seed inspectors & lab technicians from Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resources (MoALR) on “Seed quality control techniques and principles”, on August 8-9, 2018 at Pyramid Resort Hotel, Bishoftu, Ethiopia. The training was organized by BENEFIT-ISSD-PMU, based on the training need assessments conducted in collaboration with the MoALR Plant Variety Release, Protection and Seed Quality Control Directorate. Overall, the training was a success in strengthening the implementation capacity of seed inspectors and lab technicians for efficient and effective seed control system that is essential to reduce seed rejection rate, minimize complaint of farmers’ about poor quality seed and increase farmers and genuine seed suppliers’ satisfaction.

The first day training covered topics on seed analysis, germination and moisture tests. The second day was devoted to field level learning and exercise on seed quality control methods and principles both for cross-pollinated and self-pollinated crops and on the use of control plots in seed quality verification of agronomic crops. Group discussions were conducted to ensure the participants understood clearly the concepts presented and to enable them to relate the theories they learned with the practice they can apply in their day to day activities.

The training was very much appreciated by the 29 (26 male and 3 female) seed inspectors and lab technicians drawn from Oromia region (13), Amhara region (12) and Southern Nation Nationalities and Peoples regions (4)  participated in the training program.

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 Friday 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

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