On 10 March 2014 the Sesame Business Network (SBN) Support Programme arranged a one-day regional experience sharing workshop for the Sesame Business Cluster (SBC) actors and other stakeholders in the Amhara region at Gondar.
The main objectives of the workshop were to bring SBC actors and other stakeholders together and share the important results and achievements of activities done so far, to create awareness on the facilities provided by the SBN support programme for supporting SBCs in their realisation of their economic objectives and to initiate the planning process of how stakeholders can work together as a team to achieve their shared economic objectives.
The workshop was opened by Mr. Fantahun Tegegne, head of the North Gondar zone Cooperative Promotion Agency. In his opening speech, Mr. Fantahun appreciated the support given to the sesame sector by the Netherlands government. He said the support will contribute to achieve the country’s five year growth and development plan in the agriculture sector. He then calls upon participants to actively participate in the workshop.
In the morning session, the workshop briefed stakeholders on the general overview of SBN support programme, what has been done so far in extension and communication, the outcomes of demonstration activities undertaken both on farmer’s fields and at Farmer Training Centers, the main findings of the yield and post-harvest losses studies, the objectives and procedures followed in conducting the production and credit cost studies and overview of action planning.
Partner projects such as 2SCALE of the IFDC and C4C of SNV presented their approach and how they support the sesame sector together with the SBN support programme.
In the afternoon, explanation was given to the participants about the SBC support facilities and the importance of strengthening relationship among stakeholders within the clusters.
Later, participants sat together with their cluster members and discussed on possible ways of strengthening SBC within and among the clusters. After the discussion, participants suggested some possible ways to strengthen their clusters. Their suggestions included assigning focal person in each cluster, providing continuous trainings of trainers for cluster actors, sharing experience from strong clusters, giving awards for the clusters whose performance is relatively better, incorporating clusters plan in the cooperatives own plan, endevouring to have common understanding by arranging regular meetings of cluster actors.
Dr. Geremew Terefe, national coordinator of the SBN support programme underscored the importance of working together and strengthening the relationship among cluster members.
In his closing remark Mr. Yeshitila Merene, director, crops research directorate of the Amhara Agricultural Research Institute (ARARI) also emphasised on the relevance of supporting one another for the common goal.
The workshop brought 71 participants including SBC actors from the eight sesame business clusters in the North Gondar, together with other stakeholders drawn from north Gondar Zone administration, Agriculture Office, Cooperative Promotion Agency, Trade and Transport, Gondar Agricultural Research Center, Amhara Regional Bureau of Agriculture and Amhara Region Agricultural Research Institute. Representatives from partner projects such as CASCAPE, 2scale and C4C and ISSD also took part in the workshop.