The BENEFIT-REALISE Cluster conducted zonal level field day on farmers’ fields with the objective of disseminating best practices on new varieties of sorghum and sweet potato in Wayiber Kebele, in Meta Woreda, on November 30, 2019.

“The goal of the REALISE Program is enhancing human, organizational and institutional capacities to adapt, validate and scale best fit practices to improve the resilience of chronically food insecure households in Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) woredas,” according to Dr. Bulti Tesso, Manager of REALISE Cluster and Assistant Professor at Haramaya Universit.

Dr. Bulti added that the project implemented various activities in nine PSNP woredas and 36 kebeles in the 2019 cropping season. The activities include validation, demonstration and pre-scaling of best fit practices (BFP); crowd sourcing, participatory variety selection (PVS); and other seed related, and capacity building at various levels through training. Various crops varieties including maize, sorghum, wheat, common bean, fenugreek, groundnut, potato, sweet potato, and four different leafy vegetables were included in the activities in 2019.

Sorghum PVS and sweet potato pre-scaling activities were visited by more than 150 stakeholders including farmers, woreda and zonal representatives of the Bureau of Agriculture & Natural Resources (BoANR), University management and staff members, Afran Kello Cooperative Union, Haramaya Farmers Union, youth and women affairs representatives, and NGOs such as CARE and Hararghe Catholic Secretariat (HCS). Moreover, photos of activities conducted in the other woredas and kebeles during the season were shown to the participants.

After the farm visit, a discussion session was held on the efforts and achievements of the University and the way forward. The farmers and other stakeholders appreciated and acknowledged the performance of the project and the University’s various activities. The farmers requested the continuation of the support on a wider scale in the next cropping season and beyond. They also raised various issues on non-agricultural problems, mainly the lack of drinking water as a serious issue. Concerned officials gave explanation and briefing to the raised questions.