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Ethiopia: Agricultural Mechanization Enhances Productivity

It was Sunday. That day was chosen to visit wheat production yield found in northern part of Amhara State commonly named Ciyadeber and Weyo woredas. To reach there, it was mandatory to travel 46-kms gravel road from Debere Birhan Town. We arrived at the field in the mid-morning. The farm lands, in three kebeles, were covered with improved seeds multiplication. In some places, harvested and accumulated crops were clearly observed while most of the farm lands were covered with crops that are ready for harvest.

As it was Sunday, a holiday, farmers were not engaged in harvesting chores except storing the yield. Though it was time off, farmers were preparing themselves for the next day’s job. As it was a harvesting time and the sky was covered by clouds.

“This year, the yield has increased abundantly,” one of the farmers said. Other farmers also stated that besides the preparedness of farmers, those who have provided unreserved support for them have huge contribution for this success. Farmers have got various support to utilize fertilizers, select seeds, other inputs and pesticides. The relentless effort made so far by the farmers and some institutions who provide support has huge role for high yield in 2015/16 harvest season.

The farmers have got various material and professional assistance like plouging in cluster, seeds and all the necessary chemicals. Combolcha Dawa Woreda Farmers Association member Ayele Gebre said the support from various institutions help us to be effective in production.

Today, Ayele requires agricultural instrument such as harvesting and combining equipment. ” The other problem was absence of market linkage. This is because we saw wheat seed called ‘Dendewa’. Since we did all agricultural activities as per the lesson we took, we will expect satisfactory yield. But now we are thinking mostly to have surplus production, however the price of wheat may fall down,” he said. The cloud that frequently comes around is now threatening farmers. If they got a combiner, they would get high relief. Due to the absence of the agricultural machinery, their plan lags behind.

According to development agent Senayit Sime, 50 to 55 quintals of wheat are expected per hectare this year. The cluster system has enabled 124 Combolcha kebele farmers to plough 62 hectare of land through helping one another. The seed helped them to get better results.

North Showa Zone Agriculture District Head Awgechew Teshome said that over 56,000 hectares of land have been covered in four main crops. By and large, 502,590 hectares of land have been covered with various crops. According to the first crop observation and assessment, 16.3 million quintals yield are expected. In the production season, over 133,000 quintals of seeds and other agricultural production have been utilized from land preparation to final stage of crop production. In general, efforts have been exerted to utilize all packages.

“Here, Asendabo pest is the most arduous one. In the past three years, the farmers have been supplying inputs through their own associations and did various prevention works. By introducing pesticides in two woredas effective results have been gained. It was possible to use 48,000 pesticides chemicals. Because we are working with chemical supplying institution, we are able to register good achievements,” he said. The very objective of farmer’s union and associations is to supply input and facilitate the market situation.

According to Awgechew, wheat is the one among the crops that face problems related to market. “If we take last production season, for instance, the price was down to 600 Birr per quintal. Thus, without adding some value, selling such products is not profitable.

Utilizing modern agricultural machineries has also been developed in the country. Last year, two combiners (each costs 250,000 Birr) have been introduced. Though there has been a plan to add more and make the farmers beneficiary, these machines are not available in the country.

Agricultural mechanization work has been done widely. Ethiopia Agriculture Transformation Agency, Amhara State Branch Office Programme Coordinator Dr. Kebede Teshome said that the agency has been providing various support to strengthen the agriculture system value chain. Beginning from seed research, it has been doing various works on wheat, maize, barley and Teff crops. Especially, there is huge market gap in maize and wheat.

“We are now observing the means of providing crop production to East African countries. We are now discussing with world food programme. Through minimizing the amount of imported wheat, we have to purchase from farmers to make them beneficiaries,” he added.

  ©Alleastafrica and The Ethiopian Herld

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