BENEFIT programmes organise field visit

BENEFIT programmes -ISSD, CASCAPE, and Benefit-SBN in collaboration with Western Tigray Zone Department of Agriculture and Humera Agricultural Research Center (HuARC) organised field day from the 29th-30th of September 2018. In attendance were over 200 individuals including farmers, agricultural professionals, researchers, and government officials.

The field day was conducted in Kafta Humera and Asgede Tsimbla woredas.

Field day participants looking at the soya bean field at Bereket Farmer training Center

In the first day, participants visited a farmer training center at Bereket kebele, where the three BENEFIT programmes conducted different activities such as Participatory Varietal Selection (PVS) for supporting farmers have improved and better-performing sorghum varieties for the locality; demonstration of improved sesame, mung bean, soya bean, and sorghum technologies. Visitor farmers appreciated the performance of sorghum and sesame varieties.

Next, participants went to Central kebele and visited Mr. Tewolde Haile’s farm. With the support of Benefit-SBN, Mr. Tewolde, a commercial farmer, planted sesame, cotton, sorghum and mung bean in 20 hectares of land using improved production techniques. He also planted sesame in 150 hectares of land using the improved production package.

After this, participants headed to farmers’ fields where the three programmes run a fertilizer trial. These fields helped farmers compare the sesame planted with and without fertilizer.

In the afternoon, participants come together in HuARC’s hall and discussed with professionals. Attendees raised the challenges they have faced during the production season. Among the major challenges were pest and disease infestation, inaccessibility of sesame row planter; marketing and post-harvest handling problem of mung bean.

The second day of the field visit was held in Asgede Tsimbla woreda and it was largely on sorghum. Some selected farmers visited the PVS conducted in farmers plots for the selection of sorghum varieties at Dedebit and Hintsatse kebeles.

Participants visiting a sorghum participatory variety selection activity at farmers plots, Dedebit

Some of the plots in Dedebit kebele were not as such successful. Planting time, inappropriate placement of the trial, poor farm management were among the reasons mentioned for the poor performance of the different sorghum varieties during the discussions.

Farmers also visited Dedebit and Hintsatse farmer training centers, where different improved sesame and sorghum varieties were planted using improved production packages. This activity is mainly done to help the surrounding community to compare and choose better performing variety for their areas.

In the end, discussions were held in Hintsatse farmer training center. Shortage of inputs such as improved seed varieties and chemicals for pest and disease control and unavailability of row planter are among the major problems farmers raised during the discussion.

In the end, Mr. Fiseha Bezabih, deputy head of Tigray BoA said that government has been trying to meet the various challenges in the sector. He emphasised on the importance of stakeholders and partners joint action in addressing the major challenges of the agriculture sector.