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Durum Wheat Booming confirmed by Ethio-Italian Development Cooperation during a Field Day Celebration in Bale Zone, Oromia

Field event has been organized by Bale Zone Agricultural Development Partners Linkage Advisory Committee (ADPLAC) in collaboration with the Ethio-Italian Development Cooperation “Agricultural Value Chains Project in Oromia” from 28-30 December 2013.  As many stakeholders and decision makers as one could appreciably list down from all sectors and institutions  participated on the field day: HE Mr. Zelalem Jemaneh,  with rank of vice president head of  Bureau of Agriculture and his deputy Mr. Abebe Diriba; Mr. Ahmed Mohammed, Bale Zone Administrator and his Deputy Mr. Solomon Feye; Mr. Siraj Kedir, Head of Bureau of Finance and Economic Development; Mr. Aliye Hussen, Director General of Oromia Agricultural Research Institute; Mr. Dagnachew Shiferaw, Head of Cooperative Promotion Agency; Mr. Kedir Nefo. General Manager of Oromiya Seed Enterprise; representatives of Dire Dawa Food Complex and Kaliti Food Food SC. ATA, Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, and several offices in Oromia at regional, zonal and woreda levels took part on this special day. A total of about 365 peoples attended the event.

Among the agendas of ADPLAC, appreciable time was allocated to the activities and achievements of Agricultural Value Chains Project in Oromia: durum wheat variety development program at Sinana Agricultural Research Center, Ali-Agarfa stores and Seed Grading machine visited as best sample out of the 19 stores constructed with the support of AVCPO for durum wheat producing cooperatives in 5 woredas of Bale. Official presentation was delivered by Mr. Genene Gezu, Regional Consultant, to the big audience on the strategies followed and the achievements of the AVCPO. The follow up discussion with the presence of HE Mr. Zelalem was very encouraging for further strengthening such multi-stakeholder approaches and scaling up to other zones and regions. The two industries expressed their views and perspectives which is extremely positive and encouraging the for durum wheat producers of Bale. Field visits were conducted in Gololcha woreda one of the site becoming hot-spot for high quality durum wheat production for pasta making. Farmers and their cooperatives were confident to raise productivity to the level of 80 quintals per hectare maintaining all the quality requirements of the industries. Moreover, farmers and stakeholders of Gololcha wereda are very much happy with overall achievements with respect to durum wheat. They asserted that Gololcha alone may offer 40,000 quintals of durum wheat sales in this 2013/14 crop season.

Based on the successes and achievements in the last three years, the strategy for enabling the cooperatives of farmers to provide the industries with fast growing quantities of durum wheat will be realized easily. Last  year production resulted from 12 cooperatives is about 23,000 quintals of grain with high protein content and better quality, of which about 3,000 quintals resereved for next meher season sowing to enable a steep increase of production for the subsequent years, which is more than 50,000 quintals. In five years, the goal is to reach half million (500,000 qt) quintals. Pasta (spaghetti and macaroni) is the fastest growing food stuff in the country and hence all national food factories are looking for the raw material for their production. Therefore, just in line with the Growth and Transformation (GTP) of the country, this project is showing that the on-going importation of hundred thousands of quintals of hard wheat from abroad can be substituted by national production, starting from Bale zone where a great potential exists in land, research and extension capacity, farmers’ cooperatives and above all committed national industries. To materialize the above goal, the project has resources for 19 high standard stores, 3 Seed Cleaning Machines and Laboratory Equipment for SARC for monitoring the seed and grain quality aspects. Moreover, AVCPO has been introducing two value chains (haricot bean and chick peas) to diversify the prevailing cropping pattern and provide further market opportunities to smallholder farmers.

The Ethio-Italian Development Cooperation “Agricultural Value Chains Project in Oromia” aims at developing two traditional crops of Ethiopia through a rigorous market-oriented approach in 2011 – durum wheat and forest coffee. 27 Cooperatives and 5 unions are the main beneficiaries and simultaneously actors of the economic growth and development endeavor in the woreda of Agarfa, Goro, Ginir, Gololcha, Sinana and Dello Mena. Estimated numbers of farmers directly involved in the project are about 10,000 for durum wheat and 5,000 for wild coffee.  Their efforts are continuously sustained and guided by a series of committed and specialized Ethiopian institutions like Sinana Agricultural Research Center (SARC) of Oromia Agricultural Research Institute (OARI), the Oromia Cooperative Promotion Agency (OCPA), the Oromia Trade and Marketing Development Bureau (OTMDB), the Bureau of Agriculture (BoA) and its personnel at woreda level (Development agents, crop experts). The Oromia Bureau of Finance and Economic Development (BoFED) is the main executing agency and responsible for the management of the Italian grant. The Italian technical assistance is provided through the Istituto Agronomico per l’Oltremare - Overseas Agronomic Institute (IAO) coordinating and facilitating the intervention of Italian Institutions, and enterprises.


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