Ethiopia: Securing Sustainable Food Self-Sufficiency, Mandatory to the Nation's Better Agro-Economy

To implement Development Response for Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP) in Benishangul-Gumuz National regional state and the country, farmers have to secure their peace sustainably to increase production and productivity, Benishangul-Gumuz National State Bureau of Agriculture said.

The region has accumulated resources and has the capacity to produce any products in any situation. And it is also the owner of fertile land rounding in nature compared to the other regions in the country.

With this fertile land and its ability to grow the cereals in nature, and with the combined efforts of its Agricultural bureau, the regional state can contribute for the food crops consumption of the country, Babaker Haluf, head of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Bureau of the state said.

The Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) officially handed over Soil Fertility Status and Fertilizer Recommendations Atlas to the Benishangul-Gumuz Regional state on 20, May 2020, in Assosa.

The Atlas (maps) show the soil fertility status at kebele and woreda level with the corresponding fertilizer recommendations.

The Atlas was produced by the Ethiopian Soil Information Systems (EthioSIS) project, a joint effort of the ATA and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA).

This groundbreaking initiative was launched in 2020 to resolve the impediments to access updated information about soil fertility status and the fertilizer recommendations, hence increasing farmers' use of appropriate and customized fertilizers in the right amounts, and at the right time in the selected area and the whole country, Ethiopia.

The project had handed over the Soil Fertility Status and Fertilizer Recommendations Atlases for Amhara, Oromia, Tigray, SNNP, Harari regional states, and Dire Dawa city administration.

In the near future, Somali, Gambella and Afar regional states will be receiving the atlas maps. The national soil map will indicate the soil fertility status of the country and fertilizer recommendation for each soil will be completed in the future.

EthioSIS project prepared this atlas to lay the foundation and help understand the soil fertility and soil resources potential to increase the regional states' production and productivity.

Having this vast situation in the regional agriculture sector could have an ability to secure its food crops consumption with the provision of surplus products that exceeding its consumption for the country, he noted.

The fertile land of the region can produce enough that feeds the country substituting the import from abroad, but it needs the integrated work with the region's bureau, ATA, the entire developmental works, and over their farmers.

To invest in the region no need of having applied fertilizer for some kinds of grains. If somebody has to apply fertilizer to the investing lands, over production of some cereals will happen as the land by itself is highly productive.

According to Babaker, the region is convenient not only on cereals production and productivity level, but it is also very comfortable for the cattle reproduction, poultry, and dry lot finishing work.

To change this having situation in the region into trappings, the bureau has exerted maximum effort to motivate the sector and the farmer over the region's naturally gifted natural resource.

He added that holding the aim of improving the income level and livelihoods of communities, launching the project in four Kebeles (villages) of the Menge district of the Benishangul Gumuz Regional State since 2017 has been implemented in an integrated livelihood programme.

The core component of this programme is increasing agricultural production and productivity, through the introduction of good agricultural practices and improving access to farm inputs and markets around their nearby village cities with the access of media that provides daily market information.

In the first phase of the programme, a total of 257 selected Menge district farmers participated, including 220 farmers in crop production, 27 in poultry, and 10 in beekeeping works.

A total of 220 hectares of land (one hectare per household) was cultivated in applying 234.2 quintals of improved seeds, 451 quintals of fertilizers are applied to display for the surrounding farmers to make them a motivated.

This resulted in increasing the average yield per hectare from 8 quintals to 42 quintals for maize and from 7 to 25 quintals for Sorghum with the help of fertilizer and integrated works of agriculture development workers or experts.

The second phase of the programme started in mid-2019 with an increased number of farmers participating as depicted below. Monitoring visits indicate that despite the challenge posed by pests, most crops are in good standing and farmers are expecting another bumper harvest.

Besides that the other core component of this programme at Bambasi Woreda, Village 53 Kebele and Wemba Kebele 2019/20 Development Response for Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP) and regular government budget were exchanged on the farm, crop, and animal and natural sector activities, Babaker noted.

According to Babaker, seventy farmers' organizations in bambasi wereda and ten farmers' associations that holds initial associations that are formed by seven members in one village who have a common interest to work together, one multidisciplinary association, and one savings association are becoming social and economic beneficiaries with the help of money earned from this phase of the project.

Out of the seventy farmers, fifteen are females and they have organized in two beef chicken breeding organizations that have been supported by the DRDIP by providing equitable share of eggs with the appropriate cost per week for the beneficiaries, Abdullahi Ibrahim, a farmer in Wamba Kebele said.

According to Abdullahi, with the support of the DRDIP project, he was given five female goats and a male goat with improved konso breeds in 2019, and he is currently raising 23 goats with the support of medical professionals. And the other farmers around him have begun raising goats being initiated by the lessons they acquired from him.

Babaker also noted that farmers from 25 kebeles of Bambasi woreda attended village 53 and Wemba kebele training and presented the soybean cluster experience that showcases yielding multi-faceted products by utilizing land and labor appropriately.

Being supported by the project's progaramme, improvement of two varieties of sorghum, three varieties of soybeans, almonds (ground net), beef, seven varieties of beans, four varieties of maize, various natural resources for education and fodder and fattening activities have been carried out at the Farmers' Training Center.

Babaker said: "The bordering project, which started in 2020/21, is encouraging and we will work to expand the land available to us and double the use of manpower to make the economic transformation viable."

According to the bureau head, the region has covered more than one million hectares of land with seeds, excluding investors' land, and is working to collect 38 million quintals of food crops.

This and other farming movements of the national regional state have dual functions that are sustaining and assuring food production and consumption levels of the region and the country. From this point of view, one is keeping the nature green and secure natural air-condition for humans and animals. The other is involvement in the green legacy movement of the country in parallel to the agricultural movement strategy, Babaker stated.

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