In the 2014 production season, demonstration of improved sesame production technologies has been conducted in 916 plots in northwest Ethiopia. These activities are run by the SBN-Support programme together with West Tigray and North Gondar zone and woreda Offices of Agricultures and Gondar and Humera Agricultural Research Centers. The progress of many of the demonstration plots is very well. The following is the impression of model farmers and development agents who are working for the success of the demo plots.
Melkamu Muluakal is a model farmer who lives in Humera. This production season, he plants sesame and sorghum in his 24 hectare land which is found in Rawyan. Out of the 24 hectare, Melkamu planted sesame in the 10 hectare. What make Melkamu different from others is that he employed the improved production technology in his five hectare land. In order to change his life, Melkamu works in his farm day in and day out. He said he is well informed about the importance of using quality seed, fertilizer and chemicals to enhance the productivity and quality of sesame. He said, “I tried row planting in one hectare last year and got five quintals. Last year was not a good season. There was shortage of rain. Had I not used row planting, I would not have harvested five quintals from one hectare. I took lesson from my own experience and planted five hectare of my land using row planting and other recommended technologies. I wanted to use row planting in my entire field but I could not do that because I used a donkey while ploughing and it was very difficult.” Melkamu is expecting to have more than 130 quintal sesame.
Tebekew Geremew is a farmer who is producing sesame since 1996 in Abrhajira. He has been chosen as a model farmer this year. He attended a training of trainers programme about improved sesame production technologies. In this agricultural season, he is trying to apply what he has got from the training in some portion of his field. He said he cleaned the land very well; he ploughed it twice before sowing and for a third time while sowing. So far, he has done the weeding twice. He added that he did the thinning but still he has been told by the professionals to do further thinning again. He was ready to weed it for the third time and add fertilizer-Urea. He is hopeful that he will have a good harvest at the end of the production season.
Ejeyensu Birhan, an agronomist in 01 Kebele, Abrhajira, West Armachihio woreda. She is supporting eight model farmers this rainy season. She said, “All the eight farmers took training and they are trying their best to implement what they have learnt. So far, the progress of the demo plots in the six farmers’ fields is very nice. But the remaining two demo plots are not as such good because of the heavy rain. Most farmers are learning from the production guide and from other model farmers.” Ejeyensu thinks that those farmers for whom she provides support will double their productivity this year.
Yirga Ayelegn, is a professional from Seroka woreda office of agriculture, has been supporting 12 model farmers this production season; out of which nine are very successful so. He said, in the recent field day organized by the woreda agriculture office, more than 120 farmers visited the demo plots. Yirga added, during the visit, farmers were made to see the difference between the sesame plantation which was planted with and without the application of the improved technologies. Farmers have been well convinced about row planting, application of input use such as fertilizers. Farmers want to see the final result so that they can do the same next year.
Gebregiworgies Gebrehana, a development agent in Rewyan Kebele is supporting model farmers in their attempt to increase their yield by using improved production techniques. In this production season he and his friends are working with farmers in 37 demo plots which have been run with the support of SBN-Support programme around Rawyan. Out of this number, Gebregiworgies provides support for 22 farmers each one hectare. He said, together with his three colleagues they gathered farmers in the farmer training centres and showed them almost all the steps that they need to follow in producing sesame. He further said that he visit the plots of model farmers using his motor bike. He said the demos in all the 22 farmers are progressing very well. He said many farmers are happy with the progress so far and they promised to him to employ improved production technologies.