In its second phase, the Africa RISING project in the Ethiopian highlands is working with several development partners to scale validated technologies to wider areas. Graduation with Resilience to Achieve Sustainable Development (GRAD) is one of the strongest development partners committed to scaling Africa RISING validated technologies.
In the Endamehoni woreda of Tigray region, GRAD has shown keen interest and committed resources to promote feeding trough technology across eight woredas. In August 2018, Africa RISING and GRAD jointly organized a theoretical training at Endamehoni. The training focused on construction of feeding troughs, essential agronomic practices to produce cultivated forages, optimal utilization of cultivated forages with locally available feed resources (crop residues), postharvest handling of feed resources, designs and practical demonstrations and field visits for practical training.
A total of 48 lead farmers and 25 experts from eight woredas attended the training in two rounds (Photo 11). During the field visits, farmers who have feeding troughs shared their experiences on how such a simple technology helped them reduce feed wastage and labour demand allowing them to save feed for the critical dry season (Photo 12). The training sessions and the story of farmers inspired participants to adopt the feeding through technology. During the visits, farmers raised innovative ideas on optimizing the design of the feeding troughs to serve as a drying shed for fresh forages and a temporary feed storage structure. These ideas were picked up by the researches for further evaluation and redesign.
Follow up actions
Following the training, participants from each woreda took the lead and organized awareness creation meetings and farmer mobilization activities in their respective sites. GRAD closely followed and facilitated these events in the different woredas. Later, through farmer group selection process, GRAD identified 80 farm households who are already engaged in market-oriented cattle production and who have shown commitment to construct feeding troughs for their livestock. For the selected farmers, GRAD supplied factory products such as corrugated iron sheet and nails to construct feeding troughs. With close follow up and technical support after the training, all farmers have completed constructing the feeding troughs as per the specifications within two months.
GRAD plans to use these lead farmers as a gateway to expand the technology to neighboring households through farmer to farmer training and demonstrations. Farmers will benefit from the improved feed utilization technique given the potential of feeding troughs to save at least 30% of the feed resource that otherwise would have been wasted.
Field days and other learning events are also planned in other sites for further knowledge and experience sharing. This collaboration between Africa RISING project and GRAD is exemplary for allowing more farmers in the GRAD intervention sites to adopt new technologies that would improve their income from livestock, and at the same time intensify the scaling of Africa RISING technologies.
Story writer: Melkamu Bezabih