Farmers and pastoralists in Somali, Afar, Gambella, and Benishangul Gumuz Regional states did not enjoy the kind of improved agricultural technologies that other regions used to have in the past. The regions were among the most suffered areas in terms of agricultural development at small-scale farmers levels. This state of distraught historical moment has been broken since the last couple of years by a robust move taken to reach these regions with improved agricultural technologies. As part of bringing these regions to a level higher than existing situation, agricultural research for development has been initiated especially by way of a speedy and inclusive scaling up of improved technologies. This has proved to be on the road since the last couple of years.
To serve better emerging regional states requires special attention; for this reason, a profound plan was initiated in 2009, which was jointly planned by bringing all concerned stakeholders to a common platform. Planning-cum-implementing activities were funded by Rural Capacity Building Project. Technical backstopping was spearheading by EIAR, regional agricultural research institutions, and regional agricultural bureaus.
Based on the plan several scaling up activities have been undertaken in Somali, Afar, Gambella, and Benishangul Gumuz Regions in 2009 and 2010 cropping seasons. The technologies demonstrated and scaled out include several food and feed crops, which are selected cautiously by stakeholders. The differentials of these technologies were in a record high in the history of agricultural practice in those regions. More to these, farmers and agro-pastoralists understood a number of benefits of these technologies, thus, changed their farming cultural values tremendously. However, it should be noted that there were some difficulties in coordinating scaling up activities that should be given due emphasis to create more windows of opportunities. These difficulties are identified to span on institutional arrangement and capacity related problems surfaced during scaling up planning and implementing operations.
With the view to strengthen agricultural research in these regions, a two-day consultative workshop was conducted from 11 to 12 November 2010 at the headquarters of EIAR. Participants of the consultative meeting included high officials from federal and regional echelons, researchers and research managers, development experts, higher learning institutions, and the private sector.
Participants were welcomed by Director General of EIAR, Dr Solomon Asefa, who proclaimed that issues to be discussed in this workshop should yield functional way forward. H.E. Tefera Deribew, Minister of Ministry of Agriculture opened the workshop by appreciating what has been achieved thus far by way of reaching farmers and agro-pastoralists in emerging regions. He also noted that more is expected to intensify the role of agricultural technologies dissemination activities and actors in all steps of the process should remain vigilant to materialize growth and transformation plan in these regions and all over the country as well.
Several papers were presented on the progress, challenges, and technology generation, transfer and pre-scaling up; extension efforts of agricultural and pastoral bureaus. A panel discussion chaired by HE Mulugeta Wuletaw State Minister of Ministry of Federal Affairs was made on issues related with problems associated with technology scaling up activities and on their possible solutions.