Meeting Conducted to Launch an EU-Sponsored Agricultural Project in Eastern Ethiopia


Haramaya University conducted a kick-off meeting to launch a project named InnovAfrica from 21 to 24 August 2017. Participants came from Norwegian Institute of Bio-economy Research (Norway), Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek (The Netherlands), Oda Bultum Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Afran Qallo Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Oromia Agricultural Output Marketing Enterprise, Oromia Agricultural Research Institute, and East Hararghe Zone Bureau of Agriculture and Natural Resources.


Opening the meeting, Dr. BelainehLegesse, Vice-President for Administration and Student Services lauded Prof. Nigussie Dechassa and his team members for exerting the efforts required to make the winning of this EU project a reality together with the other 15 international collaborators across Africa and Europe. He expressed the university’s commitment to providing full supports for implementing the project.


Prof. Nigussie Dechassa, Manager of the Project, made a presentation to highlight the major activities of the project. After giving detailed descriptions of the project and activities to be done, he reminded participants of the meeting that it was for the first time in its history that the university won a European Union (EU) project of such a big multi-partner platform. In this connection, he noted that the multi-stakeholder partnership prospect provided by the project would mean a lot for the university in terms of furthering its partnership across the globe and attaining its aspiration of becoming a strong teaching, research, and outreach hub of agriculture in Africa.

He also disclosed that the project is based on EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security in sub-Saharan Africa (FNSSA). He indicated that the EU-Africa Partnership is based on the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, a document jointly negotiated and agreed by the African Union and European Union institutions, as well as by the African States and the EU Member States in 2007.


The Project is titled “Technology, Institutional, and Extension Approaches towards Sustainable Agriculture and Enhanced Food and Nutritional Security in Africa (InnovAfrica)”.
The other 15 collaborating partners include Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (coordinator), Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute Hub (Kenya), Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Kenya National Farmers’ Federation, University of Malawi, Soils Food and Healthy Communities Organization (Malawi), Rwanda Agriculture Board, Modern Dairy Farmers’ Cooperative (Rwanda), Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania), Universita Degli Studi Della Tuscia (Italy), StichtingDienstLandbouwkundigOnderzoek (The Netherlands), Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Agricultural Research Council (South Africa), CIMMYT-South Africa Regional office, KIAG Grundbesitz GmbH (Germany).
The main objective of InnovAfrica Project is to improve Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) by integrating sustainable agriculture intensification (SAI) systems, innovative institutional approaches (IIAs) with novel extension and advisory services (EASs) and enhancing smallholder adaptive capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
The project aims at addressing main challenges of the EU work programme SFS-42-2016, which is “Promoting food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture in Africa: the role of innovation” through a strong multidisciplinary EU-Africa consortium of the16 partners, supported by 6 active Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs) in six case countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and South Africa). The project will test, integrate, and disseminate SAI systems suitable for smallholders, institutional approaches (e.g. MAPs, seed delivery systems) and EASs (e.g. dynamic knowledge platforms supported by smart phones, Village Knowledge centers).
The Project will be conducted in two selected districts in East Hararghe Zone: Kombolcha and Meta.
A number of issues related to the launching and implementation of the project were deliberated on, and a detailed a work plan for the first year of the project was drafted. In addition, the project sites were visited and discussions were made and agreements reached with farmers on the innovations to be tested and on how to start implementing the project. Multi-actor platform members of the project, namely, Oda Bultum Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Afran Qallo Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Oromia Agricultural Output Marketing Enterprise, Oromia Agricultural Research Institute, and East HaragheZone Bureau of Agriculture and Natural Resources signed the Terms of Reference (TOR).


The meeting was concluded by noting the work packages to be undertaken in the current year and placing timeline of conducting the tasks. The work packages to be undertaken by the Project team of the University include review and mapping existing extension and advisory services EASs, Innovative Muti-Actor Platforms (MAPs), innovative technologies and farmer-led experimentations, agri-food value chains, agri policies and innovation pathways, innovative knowledge exchange, dissemination, and impacts.

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