On 13 December 2014, members of the Sinana innovation platform (IP) members and technical group (TG) held a farmers field day that attracted many farmers and others (woreda IP members, private sector workers, media and government decision makers) to see the farmer field interventions.
Through Africa RISING, farmers had formed research groups and interventions were designed to diversify existing farming systems through testing, evaluating and demonstrating on-farm research on food and malt barely, potato, wheat, apple, various livestock feeds (including out and vetch and tree Lucerne).
The 100 plus participants visited more than ten on-farm research plots. The commitment by the various stakeholders to participate in the field day was impressive. Farmers appreciated the interventions and were also asking technical questions of their visitors.
After the visits, final discussion was hosted by Sinana Agricultural Research Centre with discussion led by the director of the research centre, the woreda administrator and an ICARDA researcher. All agreed the need to support the diversification interventions being introduced by Africa RISING project. Private sector representatives from Meta Abo Brewery and Kaliti Food Complex appreciated the research interventions done on malt barley and wheat and expressed interest to collaborate to help provide better markets for the farmers.
Innovation platform meeting
The day after the field visits, the Sinana IP members met. They agreed to meet three times a year with an ‘annual’ meeting like this one held each year after the farmers field day too review and plan for the next year. IP members as well as participating CGIAR centres agreed to work on issues raised during the field day, especially the wheat rust problem and the capacity gaps that farmers mentioned. In the future
The work of the farmer research groups is embedded in the local innovation, or R4D, platforms established through Africa RISING. the platforms are intended to help facilitate meaningful and effective interactions by different stakeholders that prioritize, guide, and evaluate the various research and development processes. The platforms also help connect the farmers to profitable and efficient value chains.
The Sinana woreda IP was established in early 2014 with members representing universities, research centres, NGOs, government offices, private sector, farmers and development agents. It is hosted by Madawalabu University. During the first IP meeting, members agreed that the main challenge of the woreda is wheat mono-cropping and that they should seek to diversify the farming system with other crop-livestock interventions. This will help farmers to minimize their exposure to wheat rust and associated diseases but also contribute to income and nutrition of farm families. They selected Technical Group (TG) members from key organizations who oversee the platform’s activities and organize farmer field days and provide technical support for farmers involved in different research activities of Africa RISING.