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Sesame farmers field days held in North Gondar, Amhara region

SBN Support Programme together with Gondar Agricultural Research Center (GARC) and Metema and Tach Armachiho woreda Offices of Agriculture organised regional farmer’s field days in Metema and Tach Armachiho woredas from September 19-20, 2015.

The field days were organised with the objective of showing farmers, woreda, zone and regional officials, and other stakeholders of the SBN the rolling out activities of ‘20 Steps’ sesame production technologies.

The field days started by Mr. Maru Mulugeta, deputy head of Metema woreda Office of Agriculture and Dr Geremw Terefe’s welcoming speech at Das kebele. In his speech Dr. Geremew expressed his belief that farmers will take lessons about improved production technologies implemented in the Farmer Training Centers (FTCs) and model farmers’ demonstration plots and use them in their future farm activities. He also informed farmers that they could ask questions and learn from the professionals, researchers and officials drawn from different organisations.

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Participants in the field

Led by the woreda professionals from Metema woreda Office of Agriculture, participants of the field day visited demonstration plots of sesame and other rotational crops at two FTCs and model farmer’s plots at Das and kokit kebeles. Development agents who run the demonstration plots explained the activities that they have been doing in the two centres. Visitors got the chance to compare and contrast the application of the ‘20 Steps’ with the traditional farming practice. They also saw the crop rotation trials and other research activities run by woreda office of Agriculture and GARC.

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Model farmer Mohammed Zeynu

Mohammed Zeynu a young farmer, from Das kebele, is one of the model farmers in the area who host the demonstration plot in 2015 production season. He has followed the ‘20 Steps’ sesame production techniques in his one hectare land. Mohamed explained to the visitors that he has followed the steps starting from land clearing and first plouging to that of third weeding thus far. He said, apart from his one hectare in which he employed the 20 Steps, he planted sesame in four hectare using the traditional farming practice. While explaining about the difference between the two, Mohammed said that the one in which he employed the ‘20 Steps’ resist the wind while his sesame planted using the traditional practice is highly affected by the wind. He added; he is expecting high yield- up to 10 quintals per hectare from the plot in which he used the ’20 Step’ technologies. He said he is impressed by the height of his sesame which reaches up to 1.80 meter, branching and the number of capsules per plant.

Then participants of the field day visited the Metema research center in which GARC undertakes different research activities. In this site participants visited the research activities that GARC conducts with the support of the SBN Support Programme. Mr. Tsedalu Jemberu, director of GARC and Tewodros Tesfaye researcher at GARC and SBN coaches’ coordinator explained that, with the support of SBN Support Programme GARC is working to select and release improved sesame seed varieties. It is also conducting research in pest and disease control, and fertiliser application.

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Participants discussion after the field visit

After the visit, participants come together under a shadow of a big tree and discussed on the strengthens and limitations that they observed in the demonstration and research plots.

The second day of the field visit was in Tach Armachiho woreda. It started by welcoming speech of Mr. Wubet Mesfin and Mr. Mekonnen Asrade, deputy head of Tach Armachiho woreda administration and deputy head of the woreda Office of Agriculture respectively.

Participants visited the FTC at Filwuha kebele Sanja cluster, where sesame is planted in both traditional and improved production techniques. They also visited GARC’s research cite, in which a number of research activities has been conducted on sesame and other rotational crops. What is more, participants visited demonstration plots of some model farmers, who have employed the ‘20 Steps’ improved sesame production technologies in one hectare of their land, in Ashere cluster.

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From left Dr. Geremew Terefe,Dr. Shemelash Yeshane and Dr. Abrham Abiyu

Finally, all visitors including among others are farmers, professionals, researchers and administrators came together and discussed on the overall progress of the scaling out of improved sesame technologies. The discussion was led by Dr. Abrham Abiyu, from ARARI, Dr. Shemelash Yeshaneh from ABoA and Dr. Geremew Terefe, SBN Support Programme national coordinator (Discussion points will be presented in the detailed field day report).

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By Sesame Business Network, Gondar-Ethiopia