The third sesame sector stakeholders’ national meeting held at Mekelle

The third sesame sector stakeholders’ annual national meeting was successfully held at Mekelle from April 20-21, 2015. The annual meeting was organized with the theme: “Invest more to earn more!”

The meeting was jointly organized by the SBN Support Programme and C4C (SNV and Agriterra) in collaboration with Amhara and Tigray Regional Agricultural Research Institutes and Bureaus of Agriculture.

The main objectives of the workshop were: sharing experiences and learning lessons from activities that took place in 2014; exchanging on the strategic agenda and action planning for 2015 and beyond; creating a platform for stakeholders of the sesame sector.


Mr. Feseha Bezabeh, officially opening the annual meeting

The annual meeting began with Mr. Feseha Bezabeh, Deputy Head of the Tigray Agriculture Bureau and Director of the Extension Directorate opening speech. In his speech, Mr. Feseha expressed his sincere appreciation for the remarkable works that the SBN Support Progrmme and partner projects have been doing for the sesame sector. He also expressed his happiness that this year’s annual national meeting has been organized in Mekelle, Tigray region. Then he advised participants to get the most out of the two days meeting and expressed his wish to have a fruitful meeting.

In the first day of the meeting, representatives from the Western Tigray and North Gondar zone Agriculture departments presented the overall process of 2014 sesame technology rolling out activities, achievements and lessons learnt. Following the presentations, some model farmers reflected their experience of using the 20 steps sesame production technologies. Discussions were also made on key issues for further rolling-out of best agricultural practices.


Participants, attending presentations

Next, the main findings of the credit and production cost study were shared to the participants using a quiz. Participants got quizzed on production and credit cost related issues and the answers for the questions were presented to participants at the backdrop of the finding of the action research.

Furthermore, participants were made to watch a short drama which deals with the relationship between farmers and Micro Finance Institutions and/or banks. This led to the discussion on addressing rural fiancé challenges. Specific discussion points were on risks impeding agricultural lending, replacing informal money lending to formal credit, getting more money in the system to finance best agricultural practices (input and output credit), and stakeholders’ collaboration to address the challenge of access to finance. After thorough discussions, representatives of unions, banks and microfinance institutions reflected their discussion points for the audience. They also reflected their experience on how they have been dealing with the aforementioned challenges.

The second day of the meeting started with the introduction of CommonSense, a partner project working to bring ‘Communities’ and ‘Sensors’ together for improving food security in Ethiopia. In the brief introduction, it was mentioned that CommonSense aims to bring relevant information to the communities based on geo-data.

Afterwards, presentations were made on world sesame outlook and Ethiopia’s position in the world market. This presentation highlighted Ethiopia’s sesame traded volume and FOB value (2008/09-2013/14) and Ethiopia’s sesame seeds characteristics. It also briefed on the current sesame market dynamics and possible reasons on why the prices of Ethiopian sesame seeds has been dropped this year compared to 2014. Following this, participants suggested some possible solutions which could improve the sesame marketing.


Annual meeting participants, discussing in groups

What is more, brief presentations were also made on the topics: in country value addition; direct supplier-buyer relations; farmer and cooperative entrepreneurship and labour management in the sesame sector. In a world café, participants discussed these issues thoroughly on four different groups; in two rounds. The results of the discussions were later presented to the larger audience by group representatives.


Dr. Adugna Wakjira, giving closing remark

The two day meeting was closed by Dr. Adugna Wakjira’s speech. In his closing remark, Dr. Adugna said; “Improving the productivity and quality of sesame will help us achieve the growth and transformation plan. It helps us change the life of our people.” He further stated; “We are competing with the world. In order to get more profit from the sesame sector and become competitive in the world market, we should use up-to-date information and research based knowledge.” He then called upon research institutes, universities and all other stakeholders to exert their utmost effort in improving the sesame sector. He added; “a lot is ahead of us, if we work hard, we will bring the expected change within a short period of time.” He finally appreciated SBN Support Programme and its partners for organizing multi stakeholder platforms like the annual national meetings and the field days.

The annual meeting brought together over 150 participants drawn from Primary Cooperatives, Farmers Cooperative Unions, woreda, zone, region and federal government organisatons, such as zone and woreda Agriculture Office/Development Corridor, Micro Finance Institutions, banks, Cooperative Promotion Agency, Offices of Trade and Transport, ECX, Agricultural Research Centers, Regional Bureau of Agriculture and Region Agricultural Research Institutes, partner projects such as CASCAPE, 2SCALE, C4C/SNV, Agriterra, ISSD, ACDI-VOCA, Exporters etc.

Detailed account of the report will be posted on our resource page

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By Sesame Business Network, Gondar-Ethiopia