By Sileshi Yilma & Shemsedin Mohammed/Public and International Relations Directorate

Haramaya University (HU) reaffirmed its commitment in ensuring agricultural productivity of the country by supporting farmers as well as disseminating technologies and best practices.

In a recent field visit in Habro Woreda which was organized by CASCAPE project, Dr. Nigussie Dechassa, vice president for Research Affairs, said the University is strongly devoted in providing various types of support to farmers and development agents in their effort to ensure food security and agricultural productivity.

In the past three and half years of duration, CASCAPE project has been working to improve the livelihood of farmers by distributing improved crop varieties and by providing continuous capacity building trainings, Dr. Nigussie added.

Farmers who were interviewed by HU Online and HU FM 91.5, on their part, said that Haramaya University has provided them different types of crop varieties which have high yield as well as disease famine resistant. They also requested the University to continue its relentless effort in the future.

Azmera Yilma, who works in Habro Woreda Agricultural Development Office  and who is also coordinator of CASCAPE in the Woreda, indicated that the project has introduced best varieties of maize, teff, tomato, and rice, to mention a few.

According to Azmera, CASCAPE has done considerable work in bee production, environmental protection and tree planting. The project has also offered scholarship opportunities for development agents and agricultural experts apart from the several capacity building sessions, he added.

The field visit was conducted in three kebeles of Habro Woreda (Gabri Goba, Bareda and Haro Charchar). The visit mainly targeted on pilot scaling up maize production on selected farm lands. Discussion and reflection by farmers and researchers was also part of the visit which attracted participants including HU officials and researchers, woreda officials, development agents, invited guests and journalists.

In a regional stakeholders’ consultation workshop organized by Haramaya University on April 11, 2014, it was disclosed that more than 25 main technological innovations and best practices wereidentified, documented and disseminated by CASCAPE in the past three and half years.

It is now three and half years since CASCAPE projects started its operation at HU. It operates in five woredas of east and west Hararghe zones.

CASCAPE, which is a joint project of Ethiopia and The Netherlands, is executed in coordination with researchers from Haramaya, Jimma, Bahir Dar, Hawassa and Mekelle universities. The project aims at improving agricultural productivity in Ethiopia by further strengthening the capacity of the various stakeholders.