Benefit- SBN had series of meetings with regional stakeholders and partners at Mekelle and Bahir Dar from the 15th – 20th of March 2017. Meetings were conducted with the objective of discussing on how to organise upcoming agricultural season activities in collaborations.
Discussions were made with Tigray and Amhara region Bureaus of Agriculture, regional ATA offices, CASCAPE and ISSD projects and Humera and Gondar Agricultural Research Centres (HuARC and GARC).
Major topics of discussions with partners and stakeholders were: organizing cascaded training sessions at different level; demonstration of the 20 steps in commercial farmers’ fields using row planters; innovation demonstration and scaling; fertilizer recommendation and use etc.
Training of Trainers (ToT)
One of the priority activities identified by stakeholders and partners is training of trainers (ToT). Discussants in both regions decided to organise ToTs and other cascaded training sessions in close collaboration. In Tigray, it is planned to organize the first ToT at region level and it will be for bureau and department heads and experts. The second level training is planned to be conducted at Wukro for zone experts. The third level is planned to be conducted for woreda experts and Das at zone level. BoA, Benefit-SBN, ATA, ISSD and CASCAPE staff will actively participate in the of training. The fourth level training is planned for farmers at each kebele fully by DAs. Benefit- SBN and ATA agreed to monitor the training sessions at each kebele.
In Amhara region ATA, CASCAPE, ISSD and Benefit- SBN agreed to organize the ToT on the 26th and 27th of April 2017 at Gondar. The training will cover improved production packages (sesame and rotation crops), soil health, gender mainstreaming, seed production and marketing and communication and extension. Participants will be from region bureau, zone experts and officials, woreda experts and officials and kebele DAs specifically working on crops.
Row planter demonstrations
In Tigray region, row planter demonstrations will be conducted in eight places (investor farmers and companies). It is agreed to plant demonstration plots of 5-10 hectare on each farm. Mr. Fiseha Bezabih, Tigray BoA deputy head suggested that this activity should be done with interested investor farmers only. In Amhara investor farmers and plots will be selected for row planter demonstration. The regional BoA plans to cover 200 heater land in four woredas; 10 investor farmers in each woreda and five hectares in each investor farmers’ plots.
Innovation demonstration and scaling. In 2017 production season, new innovations will be tested in research centres, Farmer Training centres (FTCs) and farmer gates in close supervision of HuARC and GARC, BoA and ATA experts.
Separate meetings were also conducted with CASCAPE and ISSD, on preparation for the joint synergistic activities planned in the previous BENEFIT meeting. Soil characterization, classification/mapping will be done in Kafta Humera and Metema woredas by CASCAPE and SBN. Soil fertility management trial will be conducted at Kafta Humera woreda using the QUEFTS validation protocol. Treatments include QUEFTS based fertilizer recommendation; regional fertilizer recommendation (100kg NPS + 100kg urea + Potassium chloride) and no fertilization. This will be done with CASCAPE on the lead and field activity follow-up from Benefit-SBN staff.
Benefit-SBN and ISSD Tigray discussed on improving access to quality seed; participatory variety selection; seed dressing treatment; facilitation of grain and seed marketing; organizing field days and monitoring and evaluation activities. It is planned to multiply selected seeds of sesame, sorghum, soybean and mung bean. Sorghum and sesame seeds were selected but varieties were not yet determined. With ISSD Amhara discussions were made on planned collaborative activities and decided to focus on training of trainers (ToT) for the time being.