Field visit conducted at Metema woreda

West Gondar Zone Agriculture Department in collaboration with Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) organized a field visit for more than 100 SBN stakeholders in Lemlem Terara Kebele, Metema woreda on the 15th of September 2020.

The objective of the field visit, according to Mr. Getenet Belihun, head of the West Gondar Zone Agriculture Department, was to provide a platform for agricultural experts, officials and other stakeholders at different levels to exchange experiences and monitor the progress of scaling up of sesame technology.

During the event, Mr. Adebabay Mulugeta, administrator of West Gondar Zone said that about 402,000 hectares of land is cultivated for different types of crops, with a 41% share of sesame. “As a result of the corona crisis, we have urged farmers to focus on food crops, which is why the area cultivated for sesame decreased from the previous year which was 205,000 hectares.” He added, “The zone has an enormous natural resource potential, with nine rivers flowing through the year. We can irrigate more than 265,000 hectares. If we work hard together, the zone’s potential not only benefits the Amhara region but it can make a significant contribution to the national economy.”

Participants visited two sesame farm clusters in Lemelem Terara kebele. On the occasion, Momina Ahmed, a development agent from Lemlem Terara Kebele, explained to the participants on how they organized farmers and provided support during the operation. Representative farmers from each cluster area explained how they applied the ’20 steps’ sesame technology packages and how they partnered with member farmers

Following the visit, discussions were held in the meeting hall of Metema woreda administration. The major points raised during the discussions were:

  • The region has made considerable efforts to cover all cultivable land with crops, accordingly, the planted area (402,193 ha) in this season is larger than in any previous year.
  • It is estimated that a total of 6.2 million quintals of the crop will be harvested in this season
  • The area cultivated for sorghum has increased 139,543 hectares
  • 8,049 male and 877 female farmers used the recommended improved packages
  • Around 3,300 hectares were cultivated in a cluster farming approach
  • Of the cultivated land, 43,311(11%) hectares of land planted using the recommended package
  • The input supply and distribution and lack of focus of agricultural experts were a challenge.
  • The regional government approved the result of the feasibility study which was made to establish a seed multiplication center in the area by Amhara Seed Enterprise.
  • During the coming offseason, it is planned to produce lowland wheat on 13,000 irrigated land. Some woredas already identified kebeles and participant farmers to start the work.
  • GARC is multiplying basic seed of sorghum, sesame, mung bean, and soya bean on its research field and in-collaboration with Workamba Seed Producers Cooperative. The center will avail the basic seed to Amhara Seed Enterprise for the next production season.

In his closing remark Mr. Adebabay emphases that attention should be given to adapt the experience of Lemelem Terara kebele to the neighboring kebeles.

Key SBN stakeholders, including government officials from region to woreda levels, research institute, bureau of agriculture,  cooperative promotion agency, unions, administration, farmers and partners working in the sesame sector participated in the field day.