In February 2017 the SOILMAN team again visited our farmers during a final workshop:
Our facilitator Galfato together with Profs Markku and Stina and researchers Mila and Aregu discussed the project outcome and additional issues that had come up. After the platform meeting we visited the Finnish Ambassador to Ethiopia, Helena Airaksinen, to present our work.
A description of the IP and results from the process is now written up into a scientific paper.
The farmers, especially the women, felt empowered and had become more active in general in the society
The interactive and participatory process encouraged genuine dialogue between farmers and experts. They all learnt from each other
The use of inoculation was considered very favorable
The novel crop soybean after initial hesitation become a success and has added value to the diets of the participants
The new methods spread in society
About the future
There was a worry regarding the continuation of the activities
Local inoculant production should be started
The farmers might form a cooperative to formalize these activities and ensure access to seed, inoculant and the market
Education of extension service personnel in how run an IP should be encouraged
The method can be applied to any innovations regarding a more sustainable and better life for the farmers
ALONG THE HIGHWAY FROM ADDIS ABABA TO HAWASSA IN THE GREAT RIFT VALLEY
Feed is scarce in the harvested maize field.
Cattle on the move to find feed.
Maize straw transported to the homesteads.
MEETING OUR FARMERS
Kristina Lindström, Mila Sell and Galfato Gabiso on farmer’s homestead
We visited the farmers participating in the IP, asked them how things wee going and invited them for the workshops on Saturday and Sunday. Everybody’s yields in 2015 had been more or less affected by the drought. One farmer had dried and saved well-nodulated soybean root nodules which he proudly presented. Those farmers who had tested growing soybean (four farmers) told us that the neighbours had been very interested and samples had been given away to others to taste.
Mila Sell telling the IP members of the activities of the day
The knowledge workshop was attended by xx old farmers and xx newcomers. The extension service was represented by xxxxx and xxxx. The workshop satrted with group discussions concerning xxxxxx, facilitated by students from Hawassa University. Nutritionist xxx from the university talked about the nutrition value of soybean, agronomist xxxx explained about the different cultivars available for soybean and suitable for the area – short-term, mid-term and long-term ones.
Aregu Aserse demonstrated inoculation of soybean. 1-2 teaspoonfuls is enough for inoculation of 1 kg seed.
Aregu Aserse, Mila Sell, nutritionist xxx and IP facilitator Galfato Galbiso at the start of the cooking workshop.
The cooking workshop engaged the female IP aprticipants in cooking using soybean, instructed by xxxxx. The health service extension workers ensured that hygiene aspects were attended to.
Four different dishes were produced. Whole soybeans were roasted and bread, porridge and soup were produced from a mix of soybean and maize meal in proportions 1+3 (25% soybean meal + 75% maize meal).
Aregu Aserse, Markku Yli-Halla and Kristina Lindström visited Ethiopia at the beginning of October 2015. We met with all our collaborators.
At Addis Ababa University Beimnet Asfaw was making himself ready to come to Helsinki. He has isolated 100 rhizobial strains from nodules of faba bean and as many from lentil nodules. He will bring the cultures to Helsinki and study them by molecular genetic methods in the laboratory of the N2 group at the University of Helsinki, funded by a fellowship from CIMO.
Beimnet Asfaw showing the result of his work.
Agar plates with Rhizobium cultures.
At the same university Tassew Sirage is working on the purification of his isolates from chickpea.
Kristina inspecting bacterial cultures in the laboratory at National Soil Testing center.
In two villages near Hawassa Galfato Gibase and Mila Sell with the help of Zebene Asfaw intiated the Innovation Platform with local farmers.
Dr. Zewdu Terefework
We also met Dr. Zewdu Terefework, who was the first Ethiopian to accomplish a PhD in the N2 group of Kristina Lindström at the University of Helsinki. He now manages a company in Addis Ababa, which is specialized in modern diagnostics of many different diseases. His laboratory is probably the most advanced in whole Ethiopia. Zewdu initiated the interaction between the N2 group at the University of Helsinki and our Ethiopian partners.
We had good discussions with Kassahun Tesfaye at the Institute of Biotechnology, Addis Ababa University.
Coffee at ILRI.
We also met Endalkachew Wolde-meskel, now at N2Africa, ILRI.
Ethiopia is experiencing severe drought this year. The soil is dry and there is not enough food for the animals.
Teff is a local grain that tolerates the dry conditions.