The traditional way of harvesting crops ATA has been doing its best to mechanize the agriculture system in the nation
It is to be recalled that for ages Ethiopia's agriculture had heavily relied on archaic ploughing tools as well as traditional harvest collecting, trashing,winnowing and storing techniques. The role such archaic farming tools and the outmoded agricultural techniques play in fostering product and productivity,ensuring the country's food self-sufficiency as well as actualizing the envisaged Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) is insignificant. Product and productivity presupposes the utilization of best seeds,improved animal breeds,quality fertilizer inputs as well as using effective agricultural technologies from sowing up to putting yields into stores.
For instance when Teff is sown haphazardly or scattering handful of seeds about 30 to 50 quintals of Teff is required per hectare. Such sowing creates rivalry among crops and results in crops having too much offshoots and little yields.
However, when Teff is sowed in a row,apart from letting the seed required per hectare drop to 5kg, it plays a significant role in making bumper harvest a reality.
Using appliance for sowing in a row,it is possible to control the depth as well as the space between crops. It as well helps manage the amount of fertilizer to be applied. Moreover slashing down the time required for sowing the appliances catalyze the discharge of tasks. According to farmers who used the appliances though sowing in a row is relatively demanding using appliances alleviates the burden. This trend attracts farmers to get aboard.
Post -harvest loss is one of the challenges accounted for Africa's food insufficiency. hence bringing into play post-harvest management technologies that pay,it is possible to curb and gradually do away with the massive loss of Teff that attend harvest gleaning,handling,transporting and storing.
The introduction of such technologies helps farmers come up with quality yields that win high prices in a competitive market. In short,the development of agricultural mechanization paves the way for the market ties of quality crop yields. This affords a springboard to Ethiopia's agriculture,which leans on smallholder farmers, to get its way to the desired level.
Sad as it may sound, the agricultural practice Ethiopia has been pursuing was once divorced from modern trends and not potent enough to realize set goals. It as well was labor intensive and time consuming to farmers. It was out of the drive to give an end to this sad episode the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) is conceived.
Gleaning,trashing and winnowing of crops via these archaic methods result in wastage as the squandering away of crops all along the way is imminent. The trashing and winnowing activities also make the crops vulnerable to quality loss and contamination as these activities are carried out on manure greased lands. The benefits listed below are derived from applying improved and paying technologies on smallholder farmers.
The adoption of improved agricultural techniques of planting in a row and reducing the amount of fertilizer and seeds to be put into use,fosters productivity. Sowing will turn undemanding and the drudgery of farming and collecting harvest will be curbed. The arrest of post-harvest losses that attend the traditional sowing and winnowing methods will be possible. Improving the quality of crops (Doing away with trashing and winnowing Teff in manure greased land) will be practicable. Raising the income of smallholder farmers enabling them supply quality yields,which earn better prices in local and global markets, will fall within the domain of possibility.
Towards modernizing the agricultural practice,starting the past few years the government of Ethiopia has been taking great measures. The establishment of ATA in December 2010 in line with proclamation number 198/2003 is one measure worse mentioning.
ATA generates troubleshooting strategies to thwart system bottlenecks and value-chain holdups. In its focused and concerted efforts, it works towards promoting real and positive changes. It also proactively asses current state of Ethiopia's agriculture sector for a joint solution. ATA aims at increasing Ethiopia's crop productivity,maximizing economic efficiencies, and streamlining the routes to market. It as well eyes at improving smallholder farmer's lives,increasing food security across the country, ultimately boosting overall economic development and helping Ethiopia attain set development goals.
In its system programmes ATA primarily focuses on soil fertility and management,the proper functioning of cooperatives,the diffusion of researches and extension packages.
With regard to value chain,it works giving Teff,maize,wheat and grain focal attention. Accordingly, in the initial year it went operational,in concert with MOA as well as regional agriculture bureaus,research institutes and NGOs,ATA had encouraged the diffusion of technologies. Towards this end it had published out and distributed informative documents and promoted farmers and agro-pastoralists festivals as well as related events. It is still engaged in such activities.
Specially singling out suitable and affordable technologies,after testing them,ATA sees ways how the viable ones will be disseminated in unison with partners. It endeavours to outreach as much beneficiaries as possible. It works to make various value chains profitable and favourable. It as well flexes its muscle to introduce technologies helpful for sowing and trashing a variety of crops.
ATA has been doing its best to mechanize the agriculture system in the nation
The selection of the most sought after technologies is conducted putting tighter criterion.
The machine's trashing power per hour,its role of trashing a variety of crops, its significance role in improving the quality of yields ,its portability,its affordability,the amount of labour required in hauling the machine will be taken into account. Other socio economic issues will also be seen.
With regard to this, the agency works hand in gloves with the Ministry of agriculture(MOA) and the institute of agricultural research.
The following are few of the programmes ATA carries out with pertinent bodies.
1) In concert with MOA, disseminating improved crop yields the agency plays quiet a role in supplying best seeds that promises bumper harvest. Aside from promoting researches to augment the local supply of best seeds, activities are under way to enable smallholder farmers access best seeds easily. For instance it puts in place systems that allow farmers access best Teff seeds like Kunco suitable to the respective agro-ecology. Moreover to help farmers have an insight into the matter,ATA closely work with the federal and state agriculture bureaus.
2) Improved agricultural practices
Based on the promising results witnessed at the initial stage of its activities, the task-force of the agency that works on Teff, together with the federal and state agriculture bureaus,during the 2012's harvest season, has showcased the technology in 1500 different Farmers' training centres(FTC) for over 75,000 farmers.
Moreover cognizant of ATA's invaluable work ,MOA and state agriculture bureaus are striving to disseminate or introduce this method in areas where over 2.6 million farmers live.
Sowing in a row,reducing the amount of seeds required during sowing as well as adopting trans-planting methods are among the improved agricultural techniques ATA is encouraging farmers to adopt.
Pertaining to Teff, according to the information got from 90 Farmers' Training Centres (FTCs) that embraced 1400 trainees,it was made possible to boost production by 75%.And in the farming plots of models,gathering close to 5 ton harvest was made possible
3)Expanding pre and post harvest technologies.
In line with the objectives of agricultural mechanization ,ATA closely works with pertinent bodies especially with the MOA to boost agricultural productivity. This entails the production,transportation and distribution of row sowing devices by private small-scale enterprises. Here it is important to reflect how ATA's task and that of the small scale enterprises could feed on each other.
ATA helps avoid animal based threshing so as to improve the quality of yields by adopting machines that could thresh a variety of crops managing post-harvest loss. To catalyze these activities so far deploying experts that give technical advices,giving trainings and financial aid to development agents drawn from different Weredas, ATA is bolstering the efficient discharge of tasks.
What the Ethiopia's agricultural transformation plan eyes at is helping ensure the attainment of goals slated to be achieved by the end of GTP and also the MDG. The plan as well aims at helping the country become a middle income country.
At last it is good to remember the role the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi played for the birth of ATA. Still ATA is enjoying the support of the government.
(References -the Publications of ATA and MOA)References -the Publications of ATA and MOA