Amhara region sesame field day held at Metema and Mirab Armachiho woredas

Over 250 participants drawn from federal to woreda level government organizations, partner projects, private companies, large and small-scale farmers attended a field visit organised by North Gondar Zone Department of Agriculture, Gondar Agricultural Research Center, ATA, and Benefit-SBN at Metema and Mirab Armachiho woredas, from the 20th -21stof September 2017.

The main objective of the field day was to show the progress of improved sesame technology package scaling up activities at commercial farmers fields, small scale farmers and farmer training centers and thereby exchange experiences and discuss on major achievements made, challenges faced, lessons learnt and the way forward.

The filed day was attended by higher officials at national level including H.E Dr. Eyasu Abraha, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resource (MANR); Mr. Tesfaye Mengistu, State Minister of MANR; Mr Melkie Tadesse, Amhara Region Bureau of Agriculture (ABoA) head, Dr. Biru Yetaferu Amhara Region Agricultural Research Institute (ARARI) general director and other zone level authorities.

Participants visited farmers’ fields and research trials which have been run by BoA, GARC, Benefit-SBN and other partners. They specifically visited smallholder farmer field in which improved sesame production technologies were employed; commercial farmers sesame fields in which mechanical seed driller/row planter has been used (in these fields Gondar-1 which is a new sesame variety released by GARC and new fertilizer recommendation (65 kg Urea per hectare: half at planting and half at flower initiation have been used).

In the discussions at the field visit, commercial farmers voiced their concern to the minister and government officials. Mr. Mezgebu said: “I and my friends would like to buy the row planter but we also need to have a big tractor. It will be difficult for us to buy the two at once as we have a capital shortage. We need support to access credit for buying the tractor and the row planter.” Dr. Eyasu said the ministry is ready to support the farmers by arranging agricultural machinery lease service but treating every individual farmer would be difficult. He suggested farmers with similar interests to organise themselves, so as to get the service.


Dr. Eyasu and other government officials listening to the explanations of professionals at the field

In the discussions after the field visit. Mr. Tesfaye Mengistu expressed his appreciation on the concerted efforts of research, extension, Benefit-SBN, ATA and other stakeholders and partners. He also underlined that the activities that have been done need to be strengthened. He also emphasized the need to focus on developing new technologies and focusing on harvesting machinery.

In his concluding remark, Dr. Eyasu said: “To realize the Growth and Transformation Plan-II of the country and bring about growth in agricultural production, the sector needs to be led by new knowledge, information, and technology. We have seen very promising activities, we hope it will be scaled out further in the next year.”

He further reminded development practitioners and the administration to exert their maximum efforts for proper harvesting and threshing of the sesame by giving due attention for quality. He said: “quality is our competitive advantage, only if we can supply quality sesame to the world market that we can win.”

Dr. Eyasu has also emphasized the need to shift the attention to irrigation. He informed participants that the minister is producing water resource map of the country, which will be made available around January. It may not be there for this year irrigation time, but it will be ready for next year.

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Participants, listening to the DAs explanation on the field activities

In the second day, participants visited different research activities that have been run in Metema research station. They specifically visited research activities on sesame, sorghum, soybean, mung bean, groundnut, cotton, sunflower, and rice. Also, participants visited Marginal Rate of Yield experiment, sesame full package demonstration, rotation crops and ATA demo plots in Mirab Armachiho woreda.