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Amhara region SBN stakeholders workshop held at Gondar

Amhara Region Sesame Business Network (SBN) stakeholders value chain alliance workshop was conducted at Gondar on the 14th of May 2017. The mobilization workshop was organized by Amhara Region Bureau of Agriculture (ABoA) in collaboration with Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) and Benefit- SBN.

The objectives of the workshop are to: discuss on the implementation of the 2017 production season plan; discuss on the major challenges that affect the sesame production and marketing; galvanize all stakeholders into action so that they can address the major production and marketing challenges.
During the workshop, major challenges of the sector such as limited application of the full package, attitude problem of farmers in the application of improved sesame technologies, lack of capacity of development agents, problems on input supply, distribution and storage problems, marketing related problems were raised and thoroughly discussed by participants.

It was said that limited or no concern and lack of synergy among different stakeholders at different levels such as administrators, experts’ development agents, farmers etc. was the main problem to meet the challenges of the sector.

In a plenary session, administrators from Metema, Qura, Tach Armchiho, Tsegede and Mirab Armachiho explained their respective woredas experience and the challenges they have been facing in scaling out sesame technologies. They said the 20 steps improved sesame production package has not yet been fully adopted in their areas. Some steps of the 20 steps such as the use of improved sesame seed variety, two times plowing and gap filling are now becoming relatively well adopted. They added, fertilizer application and row planting are among the steps which are not yet adopted by a considerable number of farmers as these activities require more investment and high risk.

In 2017 production season, the North Gondar zone planned to cover a total of 246,736 hectare out of which 132,469 hectare land will be covered in improved production technology in the five-sesame producing woredas.

In his closing remark, his excellency Mr. Gedu Andargachew Amhara Regional State head stated to participant stakeholders of the SBN that the regional government is determined to support the sesame sector with all its potentials. He said the regional state has been encouraging investor farmers by providing farm plots, arranging credit and other technical supports. The support might not have been enough, but the efforts made by investor farmers to modernize the sector is very limited. We may not go like this; in the future, we are going to take actions, so everybody should be aware and act accordingly.”

Mr. Adissalem Bitew, an agronomist from Mirab Armachiho woreda, said: “there is a fundamental gap on the side of both small scale and investor farmers in implementing the 20 steps improved sesame production package. There are myriads of challenges; the product that we are getting right now is below the expected. There is also a gap on the side of professionals in supporting farmers apply full-package.”

He added: “the workshop helped stakeholders, specially farmers, investor farmers, professionals and others to see the gaps that they have; almost all of us are doing below the expected level. We are not providing our support with all our potential. The workshop helped us to recognize this. If we can change the attitude of farmers we can meet the plan that we set; during the workshop, we reached in consensuses and what is expected from us is putting this on the ground.”

Over 550 participants representing farmers, kebele, woreda zone and regional level administrators’, professionals from agriculture, finance, trade, industry and market development, financial institutions, ATA, Benefit-SBN attended the workshop.

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By Sesame Business Network, Gondar-Ethiopia