Benefit-SBN in collaboration with Humera Agricultural Research Center (HuARC) organised Tigray regional SBN stakeholders annual workshop on the 30th of December 2017 at Humera. About 120 individuals drawn from the six sesame producing woredas of Western and North-western Tigray zones attended the one day workshop.
The objective of the workshop was to evaluate the 2017 major activities done by SBN stakeholders and its support programme-Benefit-SBN; discuss on the major challenges and identify the focus areas for 2018.
In the workshop, Benefit-SBN overall activities of the 2017 (mechanization, Marginal Rate of Yield and Return, weather forecast, training on good agricultural practices, financial literacy, extension and communication, social inclusion etc.); scaling up of good agronomic practice conducted by Western and North-western Tigray zones Department of Agriculture, HuARC’s research activities were presented by representatives.
Lemlem Kebele from Tahtay Adyabo woreda, which shows encouraging and exemplary performance in cluster farming and Mieabal Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative which is one of the best performing cooperatives in Adebay kebele, Kafta-Humera woreda providing financial literacy training to many of its members shared their experience to the participants.
Banks and MFI’s briefly presented the products and services that they are providing for the sesame stakeholders.
Comments and suggestions made:
- Mechanization is a key issue to improve the productivity and quality of sesame and other crops. The issue has been raised in previous discussions but implementation is becoming very late. It was suggested to focus not only on row planting but also in harvester. It was also suggested to try mechanization in lease finance.
- Currently farmers are allowed to sell their sesame in the ECX market if they can take 50 quintal at ones. It was said that farmers will be allowed to sell 10 quintals of their sesame to the ECX market but this has not yet been put into practice.
- Financial literacy training is a kind of new direction which has not been seen by the government organisations. This activity should not only focus on smallholder farmers. It should also include largescale farmers.
- Micro-finance institutions did not avail cred last year. Due to this, a considerable number of women and youth farmers rent out their farm to others. Most smallholder farmers also shift from sesame to sorghum. The problem of repayment in the sesame sector need to be dealt with by devising different mechanisms. There should be continues monitoring of those who take credit. MFI’s can see the cost recording books in providing credit for farmers.
- Benefit-SBN need to focus on value addition activities. There are some individuals who started to engage in cleaning, oil pressing activities, cooking etc. and these people should be encouraged.
- Mung bean is not yet traded in ECX market. It is suggested if Benefit-SBN can search for local markets.
- It has been nearly five years since the ‘20 important steps to improve the productivity and quality of sesame’ is implemented. Farmers are trying to use the production guide but most are not implementing all the 20 steps. This activity is supposed to be run by BoA but it has not yet been fully institutionalized. The BoA’s extension part need to give its utmost attention to this. It is better if Benefit-SBN focus on mechanization, nutrition and other activities.
- Last year kebele planning was made in some kebeles but it did not go beyond planning. The plans need to be put into practice.
- Weather forecast is one of the important activities that has been done in 2017. Most farmers like to have weather information and it is suggested if Benefit-SBN continue to avail the service.