N2Africa is a science-based “research-in-development” project focused on putting nitrogen fixation to work for smallholder farmers growing legume crops in Ethiopia. The project’s vision is to build sustainable, long-term partnerships to enable smallholder farmers to benefit from symbiotic N2-fixation by grain legumes. International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is the leader of innovation process at national level and the scientists at ILRI collaborate with research organizations, extension organizations, farmer organizations, NGOs and private companies. N2Africa has developed and operationalized Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) with actors composed of different public, private and development organizations (NGOs/projects) who are engaged in the legume value chain activities. N2Africa follows all-in-one model that integrate delivery and dissemination, strong M&E and research loop to resolve problems identified in the process. The multi-stakeholders, each with different but complementary roles, ensure the dissemination and the sustainability of the legume input-output marketing. In 2015, a total of 25,000 smallholders have been reached with various legume technologies, including bio-inoculants, training, improved seeds and agronomic practices. Despite the encouraging achievements, lack of effective and reliable value chains for the inputs and outputs and limited capacity of actors in the value chain are some of the major challenges faced by the project. Particularly, the leaders of cooperative unions lack business and leadership skills to navigate the complexity of the multituse of actors in the value chain.
Therefore value chain development for legume inputs and outputs was selected as innovation agenda. The Innovation Niche is led by Tsehai union in Gonder, one of the biggest Cooperative Unions in the country. Tsehai union is operating in the Amhara region, particularly around Gonder area, where diverse stakeholders including research, extension, Universities, private input supply companies the union itself are the key actors. One of the facilitators is the manager of Tsehai union, the second facilitator is a lecturer from Baher Dar University, who is teaching courses in adult education.
The N2Africa project is supporting publicprivate partnerships in the chickpea value chain. Tsehay Farmer Cooperative union, one of the strongest in Amhara Regional State, is spearheading this process, with the famous Dembia chickpea belt in North Gonder at the centre. Fragmented production, chickpea diseases and pests and poor coordination among value chain actors were identifi ed as key challenges. The CDAIS project is addressing these through capacity strengthening of the sehay Cooperative Union and other stakeholders. Chickpea ‘cluster farming’ is being piloted, as a new institutional arrangement that facilitates input supply, coordinated agro-technical operations, marketing and lobbying through creating a space for stakeholder interaction. This demands a consistent and timely participation of diverse actors, particulary frontline farmers and those involved in the supply of inputs and services.
Improving the quantity and quality of chickpea seeds through cluster farming
Amhara Region, Semien Gondar Zone, Gondar
National Innovation Facilitator
Turuwark Zalalam Warkineh and Endalkachew Abie Asressie
Discover Turuwark’s profile here and Endalkachew’s profile here!