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CASCAPE-Mekelle holds annual review and planning workshop

CASCAPE- Mekelle University cluster held annual review and planning workshop on May 7, 2017 in Wukro town to review the activities accomplished in 2016 and discuss and enrich the annual plan for 2017. The workshop was attended by representatives from regional stakeholders, BENEFIT partners, heads of Tigray Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), senior University professors and representatives from the 13 AGP Woredas where CASCAPE is actively implementing its activities. Professor Fetien Abay, Vice President for Research and Community Services at Mekelle University and CASCAPE MU advisor, in her welcoming address, noted the fruitful activities the project has accomplished in its first phase and thanked the stakeholders for their contribution in making CASCAPE-I a success and pleaded to continue their contribution in the second phase of the project for more targeted achievements that would contribute solving the agriculture production and productivity problems in the region. During his opening speech, Fisaha Bezabih, Deputy Head of the Regional Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development (BoARD), also underlined that the MU-CASCAPE’s significant undertakings on research, capacity building and scaling activities in collaboration with Regional stakeholders. He reiterated the project’s efforts to forge a link among the BoARD Extension system, Mekelle University and Tigray Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) to bring research outputs and farmers’ best practices to the farmers in the region and urge other stakeholders to follow similar initiative.

Following presentations on 2016 annual report and plan for 2017, participants appreciated the achievements made in 2016 on research, capacity building and scaling activities. They also acknowledged the highly ambitious planned activities for 2017. Some of the major CASCAPE activities that were recognized by the participants include:

  • Research activities such as demonstrations and adaptation trials that are being done in the farmers’ fields and the changes being achieved in CASCAPE -I Intervention Woredas;
  • Activities accomplished to establish knowledge management centers in selected Farmers’ Training Centers (FTCs) as a model for other FTCs;
  • Support provided to TARI on documentation and communication of research outputs and innovations; and
  • Activities accomplished in soil mapping and soil based fertilizer recommendations.

As the main impending problems on the production and productivity of the region was mentioned to be moisture stress, pest and disease and soil fertility problems, the project was recommended to gear up its interventions based on the environmental challenges and the rapid population growth so that demand and expectations from the community and government in ensuring sustainable agriculture is attained. Based on this, the project was requested to intensify its research and capacity building activates on:

  • Adaptation of new varieties beforehand as varieties are becoming obsolete within few years because of disease, pests and environmental changes
  • Conduct research activities on irrigated agriculture and alleviating salinization problem as rainfed agriculture is becoming unreliable
  • Intensify research on pests and diseases management as the problem is recently aggravated.
  • Orienting its agriculture production and productivity towards agribusiness and work on creating market value chains for agriculture products.

Finally, the review was concluded with an official handing over of documents published by CASCAPE (three best fit manuals, six in-depth study reports and guideline and nine different posters) to the regional stakeholders and Woreda participants. 

CASCAPE annual planning and review workshop, 2017

The cascape project conducted its 2017 annual planning and review workshop after it has commenced its second phase. The workshop, which was hosted and organized by cascape Hawassa university, attended by representatives of distinguished partners and stakeholders in the agriculture sector. Representatives from Agricultural Growth Program (AGP), Agricultural Research Institutes, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Embassy of Kingdom of Netherlands (EKN), Center for Development Innovation of wageningen university, BENEFIT partnership as well as university presidents and cascape family were present. The president of Hawassa university, Ato Ayano Beraso, and the project manager of cascape, Dr. Eyasu Elias, gave a welcoming and opening speech respectively. The workshop was aimed at reviewing 2016 achievements of cascape as well as provide inputs for activity plans of 2017. The increasing interest of government actors to collaborate with the project has been witnessed by a lively discussion and reflections made during the workshop. As part of the workshop, the director of WUR-CDI Hedwig Bruggeman along with the interim coordinator of BENEFIT partnership and cascape scientific advisor, Dr Irene Koomen, and EKN policy officer for food security, Dr Worku Tesema, have visited seed producers and farmers cooperatives in Melga Woreda, SNNPRS.       

CASCAPE- Mekelle holds annual review and planning workshop

CASCAPE- Mekelle University cluster held annual review and planning workshop on May 7, 2017 in Wukro town to review the activities accomplished in 2016 and discuss and enrich the annual plan for 2017. The workshop was attended by representatives from regional stakeholders, BENEFIT partners, heads of Tigray Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), senior University professors and representatives from the 13 AGP Woredas where CASCAPE is actively implementing its activities. Professor Fetien Abay, Vice President for Research and Community Services at Mekelle University and CASCAPE MU advisor, in her welcoming address, noted the fruitful activities the project has accomplished in its first phase and thanked the stakeholders for their contribution in making CASCAPE-I a success and pleaded to continue their contribution in the second phase of the project for more targeted achievements that would contribute solving the agriculture production and productivity problems in the region. During his opening speech, Fisaha Bezabih, Deputy Head of the Regional Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development (BoARD), also underlined that the MU-CASCAPE’s significant undertakings on research, capacity building and scaling activities in collaboration with Regional stakeholders. He reiterated the project’s efforts to forge a link among the BoARD Extension system, Mekelle University and Tigray Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) to bring research outputs and farmers’ best practices to the farmers in the region and urge other stakeholders to follow similar initiative.

Following presentations on 2016 annual report and plan for 2017, participants appreciated the achievements made in 2016 on research, capacity building and scaling activities. They also acknowledged the highly ambitious planned activities for 2017. Some of the major CASCAPE activities that were recognized by the participants include:

  • Research activities such as demonstrations and adaptation trials that are being done in the farmers’ fields and the changes being achieved in CASCAPE -I Intervention Woredas;
  • Activities accomplished to establish knowledge management centers in selected Farmers’ Training Centers (FTCs) as a model for other FTCs;
  • Support provided to TARI on documentation and communication of research outputs and innovations; and
  • Activities accomplished in soil mapping and soil based fertilizer recommendations.

As the main impending problems on the production and productivity of the region was mentioned to be moisture stress, pest and disease and soil fertility problems, the project was recommended to gear up its interventions based on the environmental challenges and the rapid population growth so that demand and expectations from the community and government in ensuring sustainable agriculture is attained. Based on this, the project was requested to intensify its research and capacity building activates on:

  • Adaptation of new varieties beforehand as varieties are becoming obsolete within few years because of disease, pests and environmental changes
  • Conduct research activities on irrigated agriculture and alleviating salinization problem as rainfed agriculture is becoming unreliable
  • Intensify research on pests and diseases management as the problem is recently aggravated.
  • Orienting its agriculture production and productivity towards agribusiness and work on creating market value chains for agriculture products.

Finally, the review was concluded with an official handing over of documents published by CASCAPE (three best fit manuals, six in-depth study reports and guideline and nine different posters) to the regional stakeholders and Woreda participants. 

Publication of our joint paper in Nutrient Cycling in Agro-ecosystems

"Soil nutrient balances under diverse agro-ecological settings in Ethiopia"

Authors
C. L. van Beek E. Elias G. S. Yihenew H. Heesmans A. Tsegaye H. Feyisa M. Tolla M. Melmuye Y. Gebremeskel S. Mengist

Abstract
Soil fertility is one of the main constraints to agricultural intensification in Ethiopia. Like in many East African countries, nutrient depletion rates are exacerbated in Ethiopia by high erosion rates, biomass and animal manure removal from farm plots and limited application of mineral and organic fertilizers. In this paper, soil nutrient balances at plot level were calculated for 350 farms spread across the high potential highlands of Ethiopia. The nutrient input flows and output flows were monitored over a period of 3 years (2012–2014) using the monitoring for quality improvement toolbox. Average nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) balances were −23 ± 73, 9 ± 29 and −7 ± 64 kg ha−1, respectively. The situation was most severe for N, where average depletion rate was 0.2 % of the soil total N stock per year, which equals about 4.2 % of the available soil N pool. Depletion rates were highest in the relative intensive farming systems in mountainous areas located in the central and southern parts of Ethiopia. Nutrient depletion rates increased in time with 13, 3 and 10 kg ha−1 year−1, respectively for N, P and K during the monitoring period. The Ethiopian government responds to the on-going, and worsening, soil nutrient depletion by stimulating the use of mineral fertilizers. We conclude that the current efforts on increased inputs of mineral fertilizers are a step in the good direction, but to really halt and reverse soil fertility decline, organic fertilizer application and soil and water conservation should be an integral part of the intervention strategy.

Keywords: Fertilizer Composting Ethiopia Farming systems MonQI Nutrient balance

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