Sesame Business Network (SBN) support programme in collaboration with Humera Agricultural Research Center (HuARC) organised four field days in May-kadra, May-wayni, Division and May-gaba clusters which are located in West Tigray zone from 28 September 2013 to 02 October 2013. The main objective of the field visits was to support farmers to use new agricultural sesame production techniques so that they can improve the production and productivity of sesame. In the first field day, participants visited one demonstration plot, one seed multiplication and experiment site which have been run by HuARC at May-kadra. The experiment and demonstration work on sesame have been done mainly because of the fact that some farmers have misconceptions about the application of fertiliser for sesame. About 113 people drawn from May-kadra, Rawayn and Adebay clusters, researchers from HuARC, woreda and zone administrators, SBN coaches and facilitators participated in the first field day. Hagos Taddesse, director of HuARC and Muez Berehe, coordinator of Sesame Business Cluster (SBC) Coaches at Humera and a researcher at HuARC led the first field day. After visiting the three different sites, participants come to HuARC’s hall. Hagos and Muez briefly explained the overall research activities of HUARC. SBN support programme used the opportunity to introduce itself to the participants. Dr. Geremew Terefe, SBN national coordinator explained what the support programme has been doing by emphasising on the support activities that the programme has been giving for the sesame value chain which starts from the producers of sesame. Field day at May-wayni and Hagere-selam
The second field day was held on the 29th of September 2013. About 62 participants convened from Adi-goshu and Adebay clusters as well as researchers from HUARC and zone and woreda administrators visited the two demo sites found in May-wayni and Hagere-selam Farmer Training Centers (FTCs). At the beginning, Muez Berehe gave a brief explanation about SBN support programme and its objectives. He said that the SBN support programme demonstrates new sesame agricultural technologies in a total of 15 demo sites in west Tigray zone, out of which 10 are in FTCs while the remaining five are in the farmers plots. Kahsu Kelali, an agronomist coach at west Tigray, who led the second field day with Muez, explained what has been done in the demo plots such as sowing date of sesame, the type of sesame seed planted, amount of fertiliser used, chemical use, weeding etc. He added, “We do the demonstration work not only to show whether the application of fertiliser is important or not but we demonstrate to show the importance of using the full sesame production package which includes proper ploughing, row planting, using improved seed, fertiliser application, proper weeding, chemical use, etc. It is when farmers employ the full sesame production package that they can double their production and productivity.” After visiting the two demo plots a short discussion were made near the Hagere-selam FTC. Participants expressed that they had seen a lively work which can mainly help small scale farmers. They said they had learnt that employing the full agricultural sesame production packages properly would help them produce more. During the discussion, Dr. Geremew reminded farmer participants that the SBN support programme especially invites farmers to such field day so that farmers can see and implement what they have experience. Mr. Fisha Berehe, the Western Tigray zone administrator stated that the SBN support programme supports the agenda of the government. He noted, “We have the same agenda of increasing the income of farmers. This programme is creating an opportunity to support not only farmers but also professional development agents. It is very good that the programme supports farmers in their own area.” He further advised farmers to implement what they have seen in their own plots. He spoke to farmers that visiting is simply one thing but doing/putting what they have seen into practice is another. Field day at Division cluster
The third field day was held at Division on the 30th of September 2013. About 100 participants from Division, Tirkan and Dansha Aurora clusters, researchers and administrators and SBN support programme staff members visited two demo sites in this field day. The first was in the FTC at Wor-e which is found in Mender Amest . In this FTC, participants were first made to visit the experiments made in rice, haricot bean, soybean and other crops by HuARC researchers. Hagos Taddess, explained about the extension and research activities that HuARC has been doing in this site. Muez and Kahsu also explained the demonstration work which has been run by SBN support programme. The second sesame demo plot visited by participants was at a farmer’s field. The demonstration work was more or less the same with what participants had seen in the FTC but the difference is that the second one was owned and run by a farmer with the support of SBC coaches at Humera. Tiku Girmay, the owner of the demo plot himself explained what he has done for participants. He said he has tried the improved sesame production techniques in this plot only. He regrets for not employing improved sesame production techniques in his other plots. He added, “I am happy with what I have got here now, my sesame in the other plots is not as such promising. Had I known this before, I would have done the same in all my plots.” Just like other field days, discussions were made at the end of the third field day. Many of the participants were impressed by what they have seen. A farmer said, “We have heard that row planting and application of fertiliser is important in some meetings and workshops but today we have seen this practically. Row planting will make the labour work somewhat easy during weeding and harvesting. It will help us reduce post-harvest losses. We have also seen that we can produce more within a specific plot of land.”
Field day at May-gaba
The fourth field day was arranged on 02 October 2013 at May-gaba cluster which is in Welkayet woreda. Like that of other field days, while visiting participants were informed about the technicalities used in the demo plots. Muez and Kahsu from SBN support programme and Bereket a development agent in the area were leading the field visit.
During the discussion sessions, farmer visitors s expressed their happiness and they promised to go and teach other farmers about what they have seen in the demo plots. Up on completion of the field day, Kidane G/kidan, one of the administrators in Tsegede woreda emphasised on the application of improved technologies. He said. “When the government say we double production and productivity it is not simply by using the old practices. Now we should look forward and use new and improved agricultural technologies.” About 60 participants drawn from Mogu, Tsebri and May-gaba kebeles along with researchers from HuARC, woreda administrators, development agents and SBN support programme facilitators and coaches took part in the field day.