AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION (TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND COMMERCIALIZATION)

 

The agricultural extension department established into the EIAR research system (centers) as Research Extension Division in April 1985. The main purpose was to promote linkage between research (primarily EIAR) and extension (agricultural development departments of the public and others- NGOs, community based organizations and parastatals). The division has been served as focal point for a research-extension linkage platform known Research Center-Based- Research Extension Farmer Linkage Council (RCB-RELFC) established in 1989 to strengthen the relationship between research and extension. Currently, the platform known as Agricultural Development Partners Linage Advisory Council (ADPLAC) operates at different levels of administrative tiers viz. district, zone, region and federal. In the council, the researchers in agricultural extension department serve in secretarial position that plays key roles in agenda setting, developing action plan, guiding field evaluation, and annual review meetings.

 

The department particularly played vital roles in the East Shewa Zone Advisory Council (and supported many others in sharing experiences and documents) which was a pioneer in developing effective research and extension linkage in Ethiopia. Likewise, the department promotes functional linkages with farmers and field level experts through pre-extension demonstration, field days, training, and community-based seed multiplication, farmer research group approaches in collaboration with multiple stakeholders. MARC (MARC) agricultural extension department runs various activities along the center’s mandate agro-ecologies and works on dryland and irrigated crops, farm implement and natural resources management.

 

EVOLUTION OF AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION IN EIAR

Agricultural Extension has been instrumental in the development of research and out-reach program in the institute. The institute has undergone four research and extension approaches over the past five decades. The current approach is considered in the participatory era though there were disruptions following the business process reengineering in which the top down approach and central research proposal development was introduced reducing centres as implementing places for centrally developed research proposals. The agricultural extension department has been active roles in the implementation farmer participatory research approach, particularly from the time of Framing Systems research to the current client-oriented research where Farmer Research Group (FRG) is the predominant.

 

OBJECTIVES OF AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION DEPARTMENT

§  To facilitate the development of appropriate agricultural technologies

§  To catalyze strong linkages among research and development partners

§  To update technological database regularly by formulating location specific technology recommendations to enhance adaptation and utilization of the technologies

§  To undertake research in agricultural extension methods and approaches and to identify and recommend appropriate ones

§  To promote new technologies among extension agents and farmers in order to facilitate the process of take up and adoption

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF OUTREACH ACTIVITIES

 

On-farm pre-extension demonstration of improved lowland sorghum

Lowland sorghum varieties and their accompanied production practices were demonstrated in East Hararghe, West Hararghe and North Shewa Zones. The average yield increment of improved varieties over the demonstration period was about 2,400 kg per hectare above long maturing local varieties that are more susceptible to erratic moisture. As a result of this activity, recent study shows that in Miesso areas the adoption of lowland sorghum was the highest as compared to lowland sorghum growing areas in Amhara, Tigray and other parts of Oromia. The major varieties included here were 76T1#23, Meko-1, Teshale, Dekeba and Melkam. Abshir and Gubiye were instrumental in striga affected areas of East and West Hararghe zones which was intensively demonstrated during 2001 to 2006 under the project integrated striga management which was hosted by the EIAR and spear headed from MARC.

 

On-farm pre-extension demonstration of improved highland sorghum

Sorghum is important crop in the highlands of East and West Hararghe zones. Improved highland varieties of were demonstrated from mid-of 1990s. Impressive yield increment and adoption rate was observed in demonstration areas showing high annual average yield increase in demonstration areas of East and West Hararghe zones. Chiro-1 was the principal variety used for the demonstration though Chelenko was part for a couple of years in Chelenko. Currently, similar work is underway using the recently released varieties in highland areas of West Hararghe using recently released verities: Adele, Dibaba and Jirru.

 

On-farm pre-extension demonstration of improved maize technologies

In the late1980s to mid-1990s, early maturing maize varieties, viz., Katumani, ACV3 and ACV6 were promoted by agricultural extension division of MAR. Major yield growth comes, however, after the Melkassa varieties (Melkassa 1–7) were introduced since the beginning of 2000s. Recently, the yield has picking up with the introduction of Melkassa hybrids (MH130, MHQ138 and MH140) and Bako hybrid (BH543 and BH546).Those hybrids received the attention of both parastatal and private seed producers such as Farmers Cooperative Unions, Seed enterprises among the public and EthioVeg-Fru and Ethio-Flora among the private seed produces, for example. The yield of maize is doubled in the last thirty years (from 2.22 to 4.63 ton).

 

On-farm pre-extension demonstration of improved onion technologies

Onion is a major irrigated vegetable crop produced in Ethiopia where the Central Rift Valley contributes significantly high volume. The varieties promoted were Adama red, Bombay red and Melkam. Melkam had high an average yield (~4.5 ton per hectare) on demonstration field. But the variety could not penetrate into the production system mainly due to its big bulb size, pale red color and shortage of seed supply. Bombay red is a popular variety. It matures early, has red bulb color and highly commercialized seed supply. The yield of the crop improved due to management practices and inputs uses.

 

On-farm demonstration of onion seed production techniques

Shortage of onion seed was a key bottleneck in onion production two decades ago. Research made a break though by introducing farm level onion seed production techniques. The technique was demonstrated to model farmers for about six years. The practice has highly adopted and currently onion seed production is a common practice in the CRV and elsewhere. Onion seed production becomes private business enterprise after six years of concerted efforts and assistance from the research center to growers.

 

Farmer participatory research

MARC is one of the pioneer centers for farmer participatory research and developing linkage with partners. Farmer Research Group (FRG) project was instrumental in participatory research work. The FRG was successful both in research and development. Its institutionalization, however, in the research system was slowed due to structural change happened in the EIAR brought under the name of business process reengineering (BPR) initiative. The BPR was promoted as panacea which was expected to literally solve all the challenges the research and extension system was facing by introducing ‘fundamental’ changes. However, the expectation has not yet realized and less likely to be successful in the near future from result we have so far. During the introduction of BPR, it was declared that the system will accommodate participatory approaches such as FRG. From the way it went, however, major differences are observed between the two.

 

CONTACTS

Bedru Beshir (PhD),

Coordinator, Agricultural Extension (Technology Transfer and Commercialization)

Tel.: +25122 225 0223

Mob.: +25191 138 2489

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.