Ethiopia: Training on Participatory Variety Selection

Ethiopia: Training on Participatory Variety Selection

The ICRISAT-HOPE project  of sorghum and millets in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia project in Ethiopia aims at improving the productivity of sorghum in Western Hararge and North Wollo and finger millet in Western Gojam and Central Rift Valley provinces. In order to achieve milestones 4.4.1, 6.6.1 and 6.6.4 of the project in Ethiopia, a training on Participatory Variety Selection (PVS), use of improved management practices for sorghum and finger millet production and Participatory Technology Delivery Mechanisms was held from 16 to 18 September at Melkassa Agricultural Research Centre of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research in Nazareth, Ethiopia.

The training workshop was organised by Taye Tadesse (project coordinator in Ethiopia) and Mekonnen (Objective 6 country coordinator) in collaboration with Mary Mgonja, Henry Ojulong and Patrick Audi of ICRISAT-Nairobi. Forty-four participants (40 men and 4 women) from research, extension and Ethiopian Seed Enterprise, all drawn from various target project provinces in Ethiopia, attended.

The first two days of the training covered group discussions and plenary presentations at the research station where the following were deliberated:

  • Priority production and market constraints and opportunities
  • Preferred sorghum and finger millet traits
  • Preferred sorghum and finger millet varieties
  • Priority constraints/gaps and opportunities in seed supply
  • Major seed supply sources/partners in project sites
  • Suitable new varieties and improved management information dissemination channels
  • Integrated Striga management
  • Integrated blast management
  • Microdosing in finger millet.

On the third day of the training, the trainees joined a farmer group in Siraro consisting of about 20 members led by Jamilla Ismael to participate in selecting the most preferred finger millet varieties from their own on-farm trial. The farmers selected Tadesse and Padet as their most preferred varieties in Siraro.

For the past several years, Jamilla Ismael has been getting the best farmer award because of her finger millet field. As part of the award, organized by the research institution, Jamilla features on television shows and FM radios to educate her fellow farmers on the advantages of finger millet – it has high nutritive value, is good for weaning babies and makes good quality injera (a local bread). These have led to finger millet replacing tef in the area.

The following recommendations were made during the wrap-up discussion:

  • Complete the remaining PVS activities in all sites
  • Organize field days during PVS
  • Use electronic media to record and publicize field day activities, including products made from sorghum and finger millet
  • Identify seed sources of Tadesse variety for large field demonstrations and promotion
  • Carry out demonstrations on micro-dosing, Striga and blast management.