The Office of Vice President for Research Affairs of Haramaya University conducted a field day on March 15, 2021 at Dakata site in Harobate kebele on irrigated wheat seed multiplication.
The project is successful regardless of repeated locust invasion and other challenges. It was indicated that the University would continue its support to enable the farmers to produce quality certified seeds and would pay premium price to the producers. The arrangement would increase income of the participating farmers while reducing the gap in quality seed supply in East Hararghe Zone and beyond.
During the visit Dr. Tesfaye Lemma, Vice-President for Research Affairs, noted that Ethiopia has huge untapped potential for wheat production in terms of climate, soils, water, and hardworking smallholder farmers. However, Ethiopia spends millions of dollars every year to import wheat to address domestic supply shortfall, he added.
In line with the national initiative to increase the production and productivity of wheat in order to substitute import, Haramaya University initiated the project together with its partners including zonal and woreda levels administration and agriculture and natural resources offices. The University provided inputs, technology, training, and technical backstopping to the clusters; it was highlighted during the ocassion.
Dr. Tesfaye indicated that discussion was made with partners and Afran Kallo Cooperative Union to sustain and scale out irrigation-based seeds multiplication in the woreda and beyond.
Dr. Dandena Gelmesa, chairman of technical team for irrigation based wheat seed production, Haramaya University is implementing irrigation-based wheat seed production at Haro Bate Kebele of Gursum Woreda in East Hararghe Zone on 60 ha of land organized in two clusters of 67 farmer’s field (four females). Two wheat seed varieties (Kingbird and Wane) were used for seed production.
Dr Dandena highly appreciated the contribution of zonal and woreda level partners and individuals to realize this success.
It was indicated that East Hararghe Zone and Gursum woreda Bureau of Agriculture (BoAs) were key partners that jointly contributed to realise the project success.
According to the Office of Vice President for Research Affairs, the University has provided input supply (basic seed purchase), materials support, on-spot advisory services, training to farmers and woreda experts and technical backstopping and close-up supervision of farmers through team of multidisciplinary experts. Seed Quality Inspection and Certification Centre (SICC)/seed laboratory based at Haramaya University/ have providing quality control services.
On the field day, success stories about wheat seed production were shared by farmers, who previously had limited crop cultivation experiences. Accordingly, the seed will be certified and purchased from the farmers at premium prices as per the agreement signed with farmers through HU Enterprise Directorate Office.
It is expected that at least 45-50 quintal per ha (2700 to 3000 quintal of certified seed, C1) from 60 ha of land will be harvested from farmers and ready to market. This in turn will overcome wheat seed shortage that could happen in Hararghe and beyond for the coming main season.
Among the beneficiaries of the project Farmer Yahaya Yusuf and Farmer Nejat Abidi said they are proud and thanked Haramaya University in providing input supply and materials support because of this they would expect that at least 45-50 quintal per hector and secure their food problems.
After intensive farm visit, all the participants of the event held a meeting and discussed about the efforts and achievements the University and the way forward.
Professor Mengistu Urge, Vice president for Academic Affairs & Delegets of Haramaya University president, remarked that farmers have to use improved technologies to enhance food production, such joint discussions should continue as a culture for the future to design and do fruitful research in a participatory approach.
During the occasion Ato Bikila Letta, deputy administrator of Gursum Woreda and Ato Mikael Abrahim, East Hararge Zone Agriculture and Natural Resource, Irrigation and Agriculture Infrastructure branch head appreciated the efforts of Haramaya University in supporting community.
They promised to give the necessary supports and said that this is the great opportunity for the community to increase the production and productivity of wheat in order to settle their food problems.
Finally Vice President for Research Affairs, Dr. Tesfaye called up on all the remaining farmers and stakeholders to adopt and use the best innovative practices of agricultural production so as to secure sustainability of agricultural research development and production.
Agricultural and Natural Resource Offices, Regional Agricultural Research Centres, Researchers and Academicians from Haramaya University, Regional Seed Enterprise, Farmers’ Cooperatives Union, Extension Offices, media representatives, farmers in the surrounding areas of Hara Bate Kebele and the university community at large were part of the events.