Wageningen World, the quarterly magazine for associates and alumni of Wageningen UR, contains a six page article about the CASCAPE project.
Read in this article why, according to the project leader Arie van Kekem, Ethiopia has the potential to become a major agricultural export country, and why a triple crop production can be possible through easy interventions.
Agroforestry is widely applied in coffee production systems in Ethiopia. Coffee is grown under the shade of certain trees that contribute to a favourable microclimate and may supply the crop with N (nitrogen) through symbiotic N-fixation. The CASCAPE project investigated the effects of different agroforestry trees on the soil quality.
Two agroforestry trees were tested, viz. Faidherbia albida and Acacia sieberiana. Soil samples were taken from underneath the canopy of two trees of each species and analyzed for soil chemical and physical properties.
In general the agroforestry trees had a positive impact on soil quality. Nutrient and soil organic matter levels were higher underneath the canopy compared to samples outside the tree canopy. The higher contents of organic matter increased the water and nutrient holding capacity of the soils. Both tree species made the soil more fertile compared to a place where the trees were not present, but additional nutrition remains required. In this research Faidherbia albida slightly outperformed Acacia sieberiana, but both trees can be used to improve soil quality for crops that can handle or need some shade.
This research was part of the internship of Ernst Ruoff of Wageningen University. Ernst was assisted by the Haramaya CASCAPE team and dr. Muktar Mohammed of Haramaya University.
On the 3rd of November 2013, Addis Ababa University organized another wonderful Farmers Field Day at Guguma Kebele in the Munessa Woreda. It was organized in collaboration with the Munessa Woreda Administration and Agriculture Offices. CASCAPE-AAU has undertaken various inventions both on model farmers’ plots and FTC (farmer training centers) in the area such as demonstrations of Faba bean varieties and fodder species. Additionally, gender and nutrition related activities were also performed in the area to enhance women’s participation on agricultural production and nutrition activities. AGP (Agricultural Growth Program from the Ethiopian Government) also organised different activities in the area, and these were also demonstrated to the participants on Field Day.
Close to 600 participants, mostly farmers, participated in the Field Day. To highlight the major participants;
At the end, participants expressed their feeling about the interventions they observed. Both farmers and representatives from different offices (OIAR, AGP, MADE, and others) highly appreciated the performance, and most of them urged CASCAPE-AAU to continue this momentum in the future.
During the 2013 summer season, CASCAPE-AAU established various innovation activities at its five intervention areas. Among these areas, Becho Woreda, is one area where new crop varieties were demonstrated and validated both on model farmers’ plots and FTC. Fertilizers trail plots were also undertaken and to demonstrate the performance of these innovations, CASCAPE-AAU has organized a field day in close collaboration with Becho Woreda Agriculture Office/AGP. This day in october was intended for various stakeholders ranging from local up to federal levels. Three kebeles were visited and all together closes to 200 participants have participated in the event. The institutions and individuals participated on the field day include:
At Federal and Regional level:
• V/President for Research and Technology Transfer of Addis Ababa University
• CASCAPE National coordination Unit
• Director, Institute of Biotechnology of Addis Ababa University
• Chair, Center for Rural and Development Studies of Addis Ababa University
• Chair, Center for Food Security Studies of Addis Ababa University
• Associate Dean of Research and Technology Transfer at CDS
• Ethiopian Radio and Television
• Oromiya Television and Radio
• Oromiya AGP Representative
At local level:
• Representative of Southwest Shewa Zone Administration Office
• Representative of Southwest Shewa Zone Agriculture Office
• Representative of Becho Woreda Agriculture Office
• Representative of Becho Woreda Administration
• About 150 farmers from three kebeles
The program was organized in a way that the CASCAPE objectives and approaches were briefed to participants first after which people both from local government and federal levels welcomed the participants. Following this, the group made a visit to the various innovations established by CASCAPE in the Becho Woreda AGP. Among the CASCAPE innovations wheat varieties demonstration and validation trails, teff and wheat fertilizer trails were made.
At the end of the field visit, a general discussion about the observations were made with all participants. Farmers’ reflections about the innovations are summarized as follows:
• The difference between row planting and broadcasting planting observed through the practices was highly appreciated by framers.
• The varieties validation/demonstration trail difference observed among the introduced varieties was highly approached by most of the farmers. Some of the farmers also asked how to get access to the seeds of some of the variety they felt satisfied their demand.
• Most farmers indicated that they are highly satisfied with what they observed about the innovations; and are happy to share with other fellow farmers who haven’t participated on the field day.
• Both the farmers and local government agencies are optimistic that CASCAPE will continue supporting and introducing innovations like these in the future.
The photos below give an impression of the day, demonstrate the groups’ size and show the different innovations observed on the fields, such as teff and wheat.