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Launch of CASCAPE phase two

Since 2011 Wageningen UR of the Netherlands has been collaborating with six Ethiopian universities (Mekelle, Bahir Dar, Jimma, Hawassa, Haramaya and Addis Ababa) to implement the project, “Capacity building for Scaling up of Evidence based best Practices for increased Agricultural Production in Ethiopia” (CASCAPE). The main objective is to support the Ethiopian government to increase agricultural productivity in a sustainable way in order to enhance agricultural growth and to achieve food security. The first phase of the project ran during the GTP/AGP1 period (2011-2015). Among the key activities are to support AGP (Agricultural Growth Programme) in identifying best-fit technologies for different agro-ecological and farming system settings of the 30 high potential highland Woredas. In addition to validation of best practices through evaluation of long-term productivity enhancement and economic gains, the project has been generating evidences on the drivers for uptake of technologies and defining the development pathways and recommendation domains. The five years first phase of CASCAPE project is now successfully completed and the project handed over its results, on agricultural innovations, to the relevant government partners including AGP, extension and EthioSIS. Since CASCAPE has effectively demonstrated innovative best-fit agricultural practices, achievements of the project have already been well recognized by the government of Ethiopia as well as the donor- the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ethiopia. The second phase of the project has recently been launched with CASCAPE becoming part of the bigger Netherlands-Ethiopia partnership – Bilateral Ethiopia-Netherlands Efforts for Food, Income and Trade (BENEFIT) partnership running for the period 2016-2019.

Achievements in the first phase of CASCAPE (2011-2015)

In the first phase, the project conducted numerous demonstration, validation and pre-scaling trials directly reaching over 8000 farmers in 30 high potential Woredas, in four main regions of the country. In total 446 participatory trials have been carried out of which 28 trials have gone to the pre-scaling level. Thirteen validated best practices in crop, livestock and natural resource management (NRM) have been handed-over to the Extension Directorate of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MoANR). These are expected to go onto the Pre-Extension Demonstration (PED) phase in 2016 in which CASCAPE will be providing capacity building training, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) and assisting their implementation through the national agricultural extension packages.

In crops, CASCAPE has demonstrated improved varieties along with management practices for cereals (teff, wheat, maize, sorghum, barley), pulses (faba bean, soybean, common bean), vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, leafy vegetables) and fruit trees (papaya and apples). In livestock, CASCAPE has tested improved breeds and management practices of animals (cows, goats, chicken), innovative feed and apiculture development. Regarding natural Resource Management (NRM), CASCAPE had piloted the integration of biological conservation measures in the watersheds treated with physical structures through the conservation and rehabilitation and mass mobilization campaigns over the past years. In addition, the environmental sustainability assessment and farm monitoring to reduce environmental pollution of technology interventions (e.g., from pesticide and agro-chemical use) has been a key component of the project. In addition, the project has been working hand-in-hand with the Ethiopian Soil Information Service (EthioSIS) to transform the soil fertility sector by moving away from the use of DAP and urea fertilizer alone to site-and soil specific recommendation of blend fertilizers. In support of the soil fertility road map of Ethiopia, the project has carried out soil characterization and mapping in 30 high potential highland Woredas showing the distribution and properties of the dominant agricultural soils of the Ethiopian highlands and their sustainable management. The results of the soil survey and analytical data has been documented in a book entitled, “Soils of the Ethiopian Highlands: geomorphology and Properties”, which is believed to provide important reference material for researchers, educators and extension workers. We have also conducted series of on-farm fertilizer trials on new fertilizer blend formulae to determine appropriate ratios of micro-nutrients to maintain soil fertility in the agricultural highlands. .

CASCAPE2 in AGP2

As one of the BENEFIT partners, CASCAPE-2 focuses on scaling up of the scalable innovations and best fit technologies generated in the first phase. The goal of the second phase of the project is enhanced capacity of the research and extension system to generate demand-driven best fit technologies and deliver these to farmers and conditions for uptake of these technologies are in place.

The number of intervention Woredas have risen from 30 to 65 out of which 55 are what we call the “Scaling Woredas” while further testing of new innovations and best practices are carried out in what we call the “high intensity Woredas”. The intervention approach for the project is highlighted in figure below. About 29 best-fit manuals have been produced and handed over to the federal and regional AP and the extension directorates for scaling. With support for the project, the AGP and extension actors are now implementing several of the best fit technologies in agro-ecologically suitable environments. The Pre-extension Demonstrations (PEDs) are also being implemented with seed and fertilizer inputs from the AGP with training and follow up support being from CASCAPE.

In the high intensity Woredas, the project continues conducting validation and testing new technologies. Ten high intensive Woredas have been identified in such a way that dominant agro-ecological zones and farming system and crop belts are represented. These Woredas are aligned with the Agricultural Commercialization Clusters (ACCs) supported by ATA (Agricultural Transformation Agency) focusing on regionally prioritized commodities. In collaboration with the BENEFIT partner projects, namely Integrated Seed System development (ISSD), Ethiopia-Netherlands Trade Facility for Agricultural Growth, and Sesame Business Network (SBN), the project is conducting trials on selected regionally prioritized commodities (sesame in Humera and Metema), Irish potato in Bure, Farta, Enamor and Malga woredas, and malt barley in Malga and Bule woredas. These synergistic activities are meant to enhance harmony and collaboration among projects as well as supporting the development of sustainable commodity value chains.

 

 The three level approach of CASCAPE2 intervention woredas

Collaboration

Linkage with Ethiopian government partners

At the national level, regular interactions will take place between the AGP2 research component and CASCAPE. Since AGP2will have regional coordination units in RARIs for implementation of the research component, common coordination unit will be established with Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research(EIAR) and AGP2 Federal Program Coordination Unit.

CASCAPE will help Woreda Office of Agriculture with preparation of kebele and woreda plans, participation in Technical Committee (TC), as well as Agricultural Development Partners Linkage Advisory Council (ADPLAC) meetings and to closely supervise CASCAPE’s own work programme.

In each of the four main regions, the project established a regional coordination unit (RCU) which will facilitate coordination among implanting stakeholders. Four regional research institutes (RARIs), the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural research (EIAR), the six Ethiopian universities (Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Hawassa, Haramaya, Jimma and Mekelle) will be implementing the project in close collaboration with each of the for regional bureaus of agriculture (Amhara, Oromoya and SNNPR, Tigray).

There has been increasing demand for clear ownership of CASCAPE-supported activities within the research and extension system. The second phase of activities will be increasingly aligned and integrated within AGP while at the same time maintaining its identify. A series of consultation meetings with research and extension management and experts have identified specific areas of CASCAPE-support under four main components of the AGPprogramme.

CASCAPE, in its second phase, will also work with EthioSIS on systematically collecting and sharing soil-related information. At regional level clusters will seek for strategic collaboration with regional bureaus of the soil information system.

Collaboration within BENEFIT

Enhancing linkages and collaboration among the Dutch supported WageningenUR-Ethiopia collaborative projects (CASCAPE, ISSD, ENTAG, SBN) is important to increase visibility of the Dutch support as well as exchange of information and lesson sharing. Under the newly introduced projects office–BENEFIT– increased cooperation among the projects is important priority area that deserves due attention. To this effect, CASCAPE has been discussing areas of collaboration and cooperation among the different sister projects which are highlighted hereunder:

ISSD

The Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) project will be a key partner. The lack of improved seed is a major obstacle to agricultural development in Ethiopia. The collaboration with ISSD will provide an opportunity to further institutionalising seed sector development and to find and support different public and (private sector) initiatives for seed multiplication. ISSD will especially be used to institutionalize the seed production capacity in the regions, be it through the government, the private of the informal sector. CASCAPE will be in continuous dialogue with ISSD to scope new varieties, to provide feedback on existing varieties, to look for seed multiplication opportunities and to look for distribution channels for the seed.

SBN

The Sesame Business Network (SBN) will act as a learning platform for value chain and sub-sector development. At the same time, CASCAPE will assist SBN to conduct more region and soil specific trials so as to fine-tune the SBN recommendation for sesame. This will be done by including SBN staff in CASCAPE training events and by seconding CASCAPE staff to SBN to support SBN in their validation of best practices and best fits.

ENTAG

Ethiopia-Netherlands Trade for Agricultural Growth (ENTAG) and CASCAPE2 can explore possibilities to link surplus producing farmers with markets. This will allow CASCAPE to get a better grip on the demand side in the value chain (to date the emphasis has been on the farmer–supply side of the value chain). The various “round tables” that CASCAPE has set up in various regions to support specific commodities (soya, potato, wheat, malt barley) will be linked to – and when possible taken over by – similar initiatives set up by ENTAG.

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