Farmers evaluate sesame and soya bean varieties

On the 19th of September 2019, Metema Woreda Office of Agriculture (WoA) in collaboration with Gondar Agricultural Research Center (GARC) and Benefit-SBN organized field days at Kokit and Kumer Aftet Kebeles for more than 200 farmers from Kokit and Kumer Aftit kebeles.

The field days are components of the Crowd Sourcing (CS) and Participatory Variety Selection (PVS) activities that GARC has carried out together with the WoA, Benefit-SBN and ISSD Amhara.

The four parties trained farmers on CS and PVS and supplied three different varieties of sesame and soya bean to selected participating farmers.

The field day allowed farmers to compare the performance of the different varieties and choose the finest varieties.

Ms.Woyneshet Tesfaye

Ms.Woyneshet Tesfaye, a sesame farmer from Kokit Kebele, participated in the CS activity. Of the three varieties of sesame she was offered, she enjoyed the one with a lengthy plant height, many branches and pod  numbers. She said: “I always use improved production technologies. I ones got 11 quintals per hectare using Abasina improved variety, row planting and other recommended practices.” She added: “This year farmers have evaluated the sesame varieties in my field. They also liked the soya bean that I planted. This is not the first time when farmers come and visit my field….”

Mr. Zemed Melese

Mr. Zemed Melese who also participated in the CS said he has planted three varieties of sesame; temporarily named as variety A, B and C apart from the local variety that he planted. He said: “I followed the instructions given by the researchers. Out of the three varieties given to me, the variety named as C is performing relatively well. It has a good height, many pods which will give better yields. It relatively resists the water-logging problem. We are experiencing heavy rains this year and water-logging is our major problem.” Mr Zemed added that he and other fellow farmers have learned good lessons from the variety selection. He also emphasized on the importance of planting time.

Nearly half of the field day participants were women sesame farmers

Framers also visited sunflower and cotton fields which are planted in the area for trial for rotation purposes.

During the discussions at the end farmers raised the following points:

  • There is shortage of improved seed varieties; we sometimes get improved varieties but we get it late; farmers also expressed if the planting time of different varieties are determined
  • There is too much rain this year. It would have been better if meteorology agency had notified us earlier. It was also better if researchers could have come up with crop varieties that could withstand water logging problems.
  • Cotton production without having chemicals is kind of unthinkable; it is hard to find chemicals for cotton.
  • Very restricted or no loan service; we have no financial capacity to operate our farms; we need timely credit. We rent out our lands to others because of lack of finance to operate our farms. If we get credit service, we are going to do better.  
  • Professionals are doing there utmost but we are not as such listening to them as what they have said is common to us
  • It is better if we work on cluster farming as it helps to work together and meet the challenges together
  • Those farmers who were a model for us before do not seem to continue applying good agricultural practices
  • Some farmers stated that organizers that field days should not be organized during the working day

Dr. Geremew Terefe’s, Benefit-SBN manager and Mr. Bahiru’s, Metema WoA head, responded to some of the questions raised by farmers. They both advised farmers to take the important lessons that they have learned from the field day and apply in their future farm activities.