REALISE project hosts two-day regional planning workshop

REALISE Project is out to catch with the pace to achieve its intended objective as AMU, satellite unit along with Hawassa University has kicked off two-day regional workshop at Haile Resort at Arba Minch with global partner, national level office holders, stakeholders and others gracing the event from 12th to 13th February, 2019.
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REALISE Project is out to catch with the pace to achieve its intended objective as AMU, satellite unit along with Hawassa University has kicked off two-day regional workshop at Haile Resort at Arba Minch with global partner, national level office holders, stakeholders and others gracing the event from 12th to 13th February, 2019.

National Program Manager of REALISE, Dr Tewodros Tefera, opening the workshop, said, this project is aligned with Ethiopian flagship program - Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) that’s characterized by myriad underlying proximate causes. In that context, as population rises with available land falling short of producing adequate food and declining levels of water, a typical scenario, we are facing in PSPN.

Therefore, the focus must be on how to produce more food, with less land and water while conserving environment. Therein REALISE aims to contribute towards enhanced organizational and institutional capacities for validating, adapting and scaling best fit practices for small holder agriculture for increasing productivity and enhancing resilience to food security, he emphasized.

Research and Community Service Vice President, Dr Simon Shibru, welcoming guests at workshop, said, Participatory Rural Appraisal were conducted, wherein 600 households from four woredas participated; baseline survey among 150 households was conducted at Mirab Abaya followed by validation workshop.

In relevance to REALISE, terming poverty as terrorism, he said, we need to be determinant to tackle factors like bureaucratic inefficiencies, misguided policies and political apathy that continue to harness it. He said, this regional planning workshop will set the tone for this phase getting successfully completed.

Nina de Roo, advisor at Wageningen University’s Centre for Development & Innovation on socio-economic issues, said, I expect partners to listen to farmers and provide possible solutions, introduce new varieties of seed, work on income diversification for youth, women and nutrition-sensitive agriculture. After PRA, in the 2nd year, they must learn a lesson and scale up like focusing and validating experiences.

On Wageningen’s focus of agriculture, she adds, in general, we have seen farmers working hard but they lack knowledge; specially, in project - Capacity building for Scaling up of Evidence-Based Best Practices in Agricultural Production in Ethiopia (CASCAPE) we have learnt if you demonstrate farmers how to grow plants, seeds and show technical aspects, they are willing to adopt to change their life. Herein we have methodologies and now it’s the matter of adopting them in PSPN areas.

On her role, she said, I render advice on socio-economic context, how to work with small-holder farmers; how to set up small business be sustainable at the end and gender equity. Wageningen University is working in 45 African nations; our efforts in Ethiopia, South Africa, Ghana and East Africa are very big, she quipped.

Hinting at underlying bottleneck, she said, in Ethiopia often agriculture universities focus on technological elements, which they do have, for me it would be really the bottleneck to overcome how to make it work in a socio-political and economic context. Sometimes Ethiopian government very much focuses on package-approach for fertilizers, technologies, etc. and for farmers often they need tailor-made approach. And this project is aiming to tweak or to tailor central packages to the specific conditions of different farmers in different woredas and kebeles that require lot of evidence and socio-economic research.

Dr Tesfaye Abebe, REALISE Project manager at Hawassa University, on the sideline of workshop, said, we are working on four general pillars of REALISE but AMU has three; the 4th pillar is system innovation wherein we are looking into new areas of intervention outside agricultural portfolios it could be non-farming activities and opportunities that will increase the livelihood of farming community.

Project point person, Dr Mebratu Alemu, spoke about Arba Minch cluster and project, Dr Tesfaye Abebe informed about Hawassa Cluster and Dr Mulugeta gave a lowdown on REALISE to the participants.

Hawassa University President, Mr Ayano Berraso, South Nation Nationalities and People’s Region’s Disaster Risk Commission Commissioner, Mr Ganta Gama, various officials from Sidama, Silte, Hadiya, Kambata-Tambaro, Gamo, Gofa and Segan People’s zones were in attendance. The event was organized by Arba Minch University and Hawassa University-REALISE Coordination Offices.
(Corporate Communication Directorate)