BENEFIT-REALISE Arsi cluster is conducting an in-depth study on rural youth employment

As part of its youth interventions, BENEFIT-REALISE programme designed pilot interventions and in-depth studies to generate evidence and compile lessons to inform  policy making/ revision decisions as well as the design of youth interventions. One of the planned activities is an in-depth study on youth interventions to be conducted by Arsi University Cluster, targeting two kebeles in Zeway Dugda and two kebleles in Negelle Arsi woredas. The study will be informed by primary data gathered through key informant interviews and focus group discussions with community members as well as relevant stakeholders.

Prior to field level data collection, a workshop was conducted on December 12 -13, 2019 to better understand the processes involved in qualitative research (data collection, transcription, coding, categorizing, data reduction, analysis and report writing); agree on the sampling frame and sample size; review the checklists for in-depth interview and focus group discussions and agree on the way forward. The research team composed of seven participants from BENEFIT-REALISE Arsi Cluster, Kulumsa Research Center, Woreda Food Security Office participated in the workshop. The workshop that was facilitated by an independent consultant included practical exercises that helped further refine the research methodology and build common understanding on the research process.  The findings of the research as expected at the of February 2020.

 

Senior advisors of BENEFIT-REALISE programme held experience sharing visit to Rwanda

rawanda visit benefit realise pic 3Ethiopian higher officials who are senior advisors of BENEFIT-REALISE programme at national level conducted experience sharing visit to Rwanda on December 9-13 2019. The visit was led by his H.E Dr. Kaba Urgessa, State Minister, MoA, heading the Natural Resources and Food Security Sector and consisted of Dr. Mandefro Nigussie, Director General of Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) and W/ro Yenenesh Egu, Director of Agricultural Extension, MoA. The three higher officials have been working as national senior advisors of BENEFIT-REALISE programme. The advisors were accompanied by three BENEFIT-REALISE programme management team members.

Rawanda visit benefit realise pic2The visit was organized by BENEFIT-REALISE programme in consultation with Rwanda Cooperation Initiative. The objective of the visit was to learn from Rwanda experiences and contribute to Ethiopian institutional capacity building targeted by the programme. To achieve objective of the visit, the team visited and discussed with Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resources, Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), Rwanda Cooperation Initiative (RCI), the Netherlands Embassy to Rwanda, Ethiopian Embassy to Rwanda, and Bank of Kigali in Kigali. The delegation visited a potato value chain in Musanze district of Northern Province and soil conservation terraces in Ngororero district of Western province.

Experiences on potato value chain, supported by Bank of Kigali in credit supply for inputs in non-cash approach and the interface of agricultural research and extension are good experiences, among others, that Ethiopian delegate would consider. The home grown solution called Imihigo has helped Rwanda to change the long standing political, social and economic challenges it faced.  Imihigo is a cultural practice in which an individual sets himself targets to be achieved within a specific period of time. For the near future, teams were established from both countries to identify areas where the countries can learn from each other through well planned exchange visits.

BENEFIT-REALISE BDU conducted two farmers’ field days on improved wheat and potato technologies

BENEFIT-REALISE Bahir Dar University (BDU) Cluster held field days on wheat production technologies in Enebsie Sar Midir (ESM) Woreda, and improved potato technologies in Lay Gaint Woreda on August 19 and October 12, 2019 respectively. The field days were organized in collaboration with woreda offices.

The visit in ESM woreda showcased wheat production technologies including 1000 Birr bread wheat small seed pack pilot, bread wheat PVS and demonstration of improved bread wheat technologies. The field day in Lay Gaint Woreda was organized to showcase the performance of Belete variety potato.

The visits attracted close to 300 participants, representing PSNP and non-PSNP farmers, high level officials from hosting woreda administration offices, Amhara National Regional State (ANRS) Bureau of Agriculture, ANRS Disaster Prevention and Food Security Programme Coordination office, NGOs (FH and Vita), universities’ community service and research officials (Debre Tabor University, BDU and Debre Makose Universities), Amhara Agricultural Research Institute (ARARI) and Adet Agricultural Research Center, Office of Cooperative Promotion, union officials (Guna and Motta), local potato seed producer association, agriculture experts, woreda communication office, kebele development agents, and BENEFIT programmes.

BENEFIT held agriculture and nutrition linkages workshop

On December 2, 2019, BENEFIT–PCU organized a half-day workshop on agriculture and nutrition linkages in BENEFIT programmes (ISSD, REALISE, SBN, ENTAG and CaNaG (CASCAPE Nutrition and Gender)) to reflect on Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture (NSA) lessons learned and identify key areas of future engagements and research opportunities. Over 20 participants representing the World Bank, Capacity Development Support Facility (CDSF), Feed the Future Ethiopia Value Chain Activity (FTFE-VCA), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), BENEFIT programmes staff from Addis Ababa, regions and Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation (WCDI) attended the workshop.

The workshop included presentations on FAO conceptual framework – ten principles to make projects more nutrition sensitive and how to operationalize it in BENEFIT programmes; lessons learned from five programmes and a discussion on gaps, new areas of interest and research opportunities BENEFIT should include in its future interventions.

And future areas of engagement identified included developing strategies in the area of nutrition collaboration, Behavioral change communication, mobilizing finance to ensure sustainability of the project interventions; using available technologies to process and improve the shelf life of home gardening and engage women in vegetable and fruit production without adding to their already existing work burden; linking nutrition with food safety measures at house hold level; ensure seed availability and access at local level by supporting seed multiplication efforts; and documenting evidence based lessons learned to share with the wider population.

The participants also discussions challenges related to access to market, labor, seed availability and water scarcity; working closely with the government and other research centers; issues related to planting nutrition crop beyond home gardening on larger farm land; consumption verses income when introducing cash crops; preference of farmers to engage in high productivity crops verse nutrition dense crops; working with agro dealers and Seed Producer Cooperatives (SPCs) willing to work on fruit and vegetables; and the relevance of looking at systems level rather than activities.

 

BENEFIT-CASCAPE organized scaling agricultural innovations write-shop

On October 14-17, 2019, BENEFIT-CASCAPE organized a write-shop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to build a common understanding of up-to-date scaling approaches and develop a roadmap to review, process and analyze data collected by each cluster to produce cluster level and national level synthesis publication. The write-shop was relevant to share state of the art academic thinking on scaling of agricultural innovations; share CASCAPE’s scaling process undertaken by respective clusters, train, give guidance and support on methodological data analysis.

This is part of BENEFIT-CASCAPE 2019 effort that focuses on embedding CASCAPE best fit innovation and approaches into the country’s agricultural extension system. Accordingly, one of the programme’s efforts give attention to support the extension directorate’s scaling activities through capacity development and sharing evidences generated in the programme’s scaling activities.

With the objective of understanding and highlighting the enabling and hindering factors for successful scaling of the Best Fit Practices (BFPs), the programme developed a framework to monitor and evaluate the impact of scaling in 2018. That was followed by systematic collection and coding of quantitative and qualitative data on scaling efforts of various commodities.

The output synthesis will be shared with policy makers and as scientific publication for the scientific community.

 

 

ATA Launched Agricultural Commercialization Cluster program

On Nov 28, 2019, ATA in Ethiopia launched “Agricultural Commercialization Cluster program (ACC)” that aims to integrate the interventions prioritized in the Transformation Agenda within specific geographies targeting priority high-value commodities. The five year programme to be implemented in Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR, and Tigray regions is supported by development partners namely DANIDA, the Netherlands Development Cooperation, French Development Agency and EU. The launching ceremony was attended by ministers, state ministers, regional presidents, ambassadors including HE Bengt van Loosdrecht Ambassador of the EKN, parliamentarians, university presidents, director generals of the federal and regional agricultural research institutes, representative farmers from the four regions, and other stakeholders engaged in agricultural development including BENEFIT Partnership run by Wageningen University, a top agricultural university in Netherlands.

The launch program that was held at Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) conference centre was officially opened by the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The opening speech was followed by presentations that gave an overview of the ACC program and four panel discussions (donors, federal and regional official of the MoA, representative farmers, and representative of private sector).

The panel discussion by development partners focused on the importance of ACC in the broader context of international development. Mr Thijs Woudstra, Deputy Head of Mission of The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN), was among the panellists who stated that even though while the Netherlands is about the size as the Tigray region, it is the second biggest exporter of agricultural products in the world. The secret behind this success is the so called Golden Triangle approach that followed the right collaboration of relevant actors (academia, private sector and the government).

Mr. Thijs also talked about how the ACC initiative is aligned with other EKN supported development initiatives including WUR BENEFIT in Ethiopia. He mentioned EKN’s active engagement in facilitating collaboration of the different initiatives of ATA, BENEFIT and SNV who cover different components of the value chains towards setting up a formal collaboration and synergy mechanism for maximum impact. He also highlighted the opportunity to link ACC with Netherlands agricultural investment and trade noting the fact that Netherlands is one of the top agricultural investor and the prime destination for agricultural export from Ethiopia.

The ACC is an initiative that we as BENEFIT look forward to collaborate with in the coming year and possibly in the new phase of BENEFIT beyond 2020.

GENDER MAINSTREAMING CONTRIBUTION TO WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT IN INFORMAL SEED SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT

The second phase of BENEFIT-ISSD (2016-2019) gave special attention to informal seed sector development. Within that context, enhanced empowerment of women in the access and use of quality seed of their preference at household and community level is one of the intermediary outcomes of BENEFIT-ISSD. To achieve this, BENEFIT-ISSD conducted several activities from 2016 to 2019. The attached briefing note “Women Empowerment in Informal Seed System Development” summarizes the activities implemented using crowdsourcing and Participatory Varietal Selection (PVS) approaches and the findings of a study on the activities’ contribution towards women’s empowerment.

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