HU hosted and organized International Workshop on Management of Parthenium

 

Haramaya University has organized and hosted an international workshop on biological control of the invasive weed called Parthenium hysterophorous in East Africa. The workshop was jointly organized by Haramaya University, Virginia Tech University and Virginia State University with the financial support of USAID during 17-18 December 2015 in Dire Dawa city at Samrat Hotel.

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The conference was officially opened by Professor Chemeda Fininsa, President of Haramaya University. Prof. Chemeda thanked the participants who travelled all the way from abroad and within Ethiopia and for showing an interest to participate and contribute in this timely and important workshop.

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Professor Chemeda indicated that this invasive alien weedy species dramatically reduces the productivity of pastures by replacing the native vegetation, reduces bio-diversity, adversely affects health of livestock and their products, causes serious human health problems and significant yield loss of crops. He stresses the need for ecologically sound, economically and technically feasible, socially acceptable, sustainable and practicable management options for the weed. He also added that the integration of biological control of parthenium weed with other feasible management practices will have a positive role on reducing of the impact of the weed on the ecosystem and livelihoods of the farmers of Ethiopia in particular and Eastern Africa in General. He also acknowledged USAID, Virginia State University, Virginia Tech and their staff members especially Dr Wondi Mersie for considering HU as a partner in the project and organizing the workshop here at Dire Dawa, eastern Ethiopia, where parthenium problem is more serious.

This workshop brought together researchers and other partners working on parthenium from USA, Israel, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia. The workshop reviewed the current status of parthenium in the world and discussed management practices that can be used to abate its adverse impacts through presentations from various participants.

Dr. Wondi Mersie, Principal Investigator from Virginia State University, gave a presentation about the project. He indicated that the lead of the project is Virginia state university, and Virginia Tech, Haramaya University, Ethiopian Institution of Agricultural Research, Amhara Regional Agricultural Research Institute, Ambo University, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, CABI, South Africa ARC-PPRC, Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives and the Ugandan National Research Organization are also involving in the project

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The goal of the project is to abate the spread and impact of parthenium in East Africa using natural enemies. A leaf feeding beetle (Zygogramma bicolorata) and a stem boring weevil (Listronotus setosipennis) proved to be effective in Australia and India were introduced from South Africa, tested for their adaptability and host specificity and currently mass rearing of the insects for a bio-control of parthenium is in progress at HU and other research sites..

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Among the participants from Ethiopia, Director General of the Amhara Agricultural Research Institute, Formers Head of Extension Department of the Oromia Bureau of Agriculture, advisor to the Federal Minister of Agriculture of Ethiopia, Dr. Bobe Bedadi, the Dean of the College of Agriculture, Dr Yibekal Alemayehu, the University Registrar and the Delegate of the Vice President for Academic Affairs of HU, Dr. Bulti Tesso, Head of the School of Plant Sciences and Mr Ayele Akuma, Head of the School of Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences were also in attendance. Dr. Lisanework Nigatu, the coordinator of Parthenium project at Haramaya University, and Dr. Tamado Tana, member of the Parthenium project as well as Mrs Emebet Belete, the Director of Gender, HIV/AIDS and Special Needs gave presentations during the workshop.

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The workshop participant have also visited HU’s activity in rearing of the parthenium bio-control agent (Zygogramma bicolorata) at Rare research field and some of the members of the expatriate participants met with the President of the University and held discussion. In general, the members expressed that they had successful two days workshop and enjoyable stay at in Dire Dawa.

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By Ebrahim Seid/Shemsedin Mohammed (Public and International Relations Directorate)

Dr. Temedo Tana (College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences)

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