InnovAfrica Project provided training on sustainable agricultural intensification (cereal – legume inter cropping) for targeted farmers and extension workers from Kombolcha and Meta Woredas (Districts) on September 9, 2021 at Ras Hotel in Harar, Ethiopia.

The Project has received funding from the European Union’s H2020 research and innovation program.

According to Ato Feyisa Hundessa, InnovAfrica Case Country Manager, ensuring food and nutrition security of smallholder households is a critical challenge in areas characterized by small landholding size like Hararghe.

To tackle the problem, InnovAfrica project has been demonstrating Sustainable Agricultural Intensification (SAI) practices such as crop diversification and livestock-brachiari system integrated with efficient extension and advisory services (EASs) supported by innovative institutional approaches.

According to Ato Feyisa, intercropping resulted in improved productivity with positive effect on soil fertility. So farmers and stakeholders are advised to adopt and uses the best innovative practices of agricultural production to secure sustainability of agricultural research development and production.

As part of SAI, farmers’ led field trials and demonstrations on Maize-common bean intercropping were conducted on selected farmers’ field from Meta and Kombolcha Districts of East Hararghe Zone, and Raree Research site of Haramaya University, from 2018 to 2020 cropping seasons.

Based on these three years’ experiment results from Ethiopia and other partners’ institutions from Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and South Africa, the project team developed a farmer manual on ‘Cereal-Legume Intercropping and Rotations in Eastern and Southern Africa. To this end, training and experience sharing workshop on Maize-common bean agronomy, pest, harvest and post-harvest management, was organized for more than 40 participants that included InnovAfrica project technology adopters and non-adopters farmers, development agents and agriculture office experts from Meta and Kombolcha Districts.

The training was offered by University Professors and the InnovAfrica Project team members of Haramaya University.

Among the targeted farmers, Dita Abrasha, and Dina Omar, from Meta Woreda, and farmer Sule Shebo from Kombolcha Woreda, said that the interventions of InnovAfrica Project they practiced were very encouraging for them, and they appreciated and acknowledged the performance of the Project as well as the University. The farmers said that inter cropping is the best technology to improve productivity on small plots of land in order to get a better harvest.

They have used the technology and their production has more than doubled and were able to build new houses and improved their living conditions, the beneficiaries added.

The training was an experience sharing platform for the InnovAfrica project beneficiary farmers and the non-beneficiary farmers. During the training, results from the farmer-led field experimentation and contribution of the project in ensuring food security of the households shared with the trainees.

InnovAfrica Project has been implemented by a consortium of 16 different institutions from Africa and Europe.