Eastern Ethiopia Common Bean Innovation Platform Established

 

Lowland Pulses Research Program of Haramaya University in collaboration with Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) held a one-day workshop to establish eastern Ethiopian common bean stakeholders and innovation platform; the workshop was organized through the support from Tropical Legume-III Project.

The workshop, conducted on February 19, 2018 at Resource Center, was officially opened by Prof. Chemeda Fininsa, President the University. In his opening speech, Prof. Chemeda briefly indicated the importance of common bean in eastern Ethiopia and the country in general. He also stressed that bringing all the relevant stakeholders and creating strong linkage among the actors is vital to address the challenges of common bean production and marketing in eastern Ethiopia.

Aimed at establishing eastern Ethiopia common bean stakeholders’ platform, the workshop brought together stakeholders from east and west Hararghe zones and woredas, Dire Dawa Administrative Council, Harari People’s Regional State, Somali Regional State and Haramaya University.  The key objective of establishing this multi sectoral platform was to identify the major production and marketing opportunities and bottlenecks, enhance the linkage among its value chain actors, and share responsibilities to overcome the identified challenges thereby provide possible solutions to enhance the production and productivity of common bean in eastern Ethiopia.

More than 70 representatives from research centers, farmers unions and cooperatives, Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), NGOs, Bureau of agriculture, development projects and stakeholders from HU attended the platform.  Dr. Berhanu Amsalu, national coordinator of Lowland Pulses research and TL III project, and Mr. Ibsa Aliyi, coordinator of Lowland pulses research program at HU presented national and regional common bean research activities, available technologies and promotion efforts, respectively. Experience of seed producers and marketing opportunities and challenges were also presented and discussed.

According to Mr. Ibsa beans are increasingly becoming an important crop which largely contributes to the national economy (commodity and employment) and as a source of food, and cash income in the country. In eastern Ethiopia, unlike to other parts of the country, more than 90% of common bean is produced by intercropping with maize, sorghum, chat and so on.

Mr. Ibsa add that Haramaya University Lowland Pulse Research Program has immensely contributed in the technology generation and dissemination activities since its inception in the 1980s. The program works in collaboration, primarily, with EIAR and other international organizations such as CIAT. The program undertakes its research activities on seven HU owned research sites: Babile, Dire Dawa, Errer, Fadis, Haramaya, Gurawa and Hirna in eastern Ethiopia. So far the program has developed and released 11 improved common bean varieties of different market class. In collaboration with local, regional and national partners efforts have also been made to distribute these technologies to the farmers. As a result the program contributed its part to enhance the production and productivity of common bean in the sub region.

After the presentations and thorough deliberations, the stakeholders were grouped in clusters based on their organizational nature and had a discussion among themselves. Finally, representative from each category presented their expected share of responsibilities in the platform and possible roles in achieving the anticipated improvement of production, marketing of beans in this sub region and their plan for 2018. They also nominated the lead person who will be the member of the platform steering committee.

On behalf of Dr. Jemal Yousuf (Vice-president for Research Affairs), Dr. Firew Mekbib made a closing remark where he highlighted the significance of improving linkages along the value chain actors and the commitment of the Office to provide all possible supports for the platform. In addition, he mentioned that every stakeholder has to implement its commitment and the steering committee is mandated to follow up the progress of the platform. He also called up on other research programs of the University to follow the footstep of Lowland Pulses Research Program and work on bringing potential stakeholders and establish a platform.

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