AgroBIG is co-financing a scheme to support farmers with access to irrigation in North Mecha, North Achefer, Bahir Dar Zuria and Dera districts to improve the quality and productivity of vegetables through the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach. This is being undertaken in cooperation with Horti-LIFE, one of the agricultural projects run by Dutch development agency SNV. Since the cooperation between AgroBIG and SNV-Horti-LIFE was launched, 1800 farmers have been engaged in the scheme.
A private company farming 50 hectares in North Mecha district – KogaVeg – is engaging surrounding smallholders in a contract farming arrangement to supply fresh sugar snaps, snow peas and baby corn to European markets. AgroBIG has facilitated the involvement of 43 farmers during the 2018/19 off-season, enabling them to learn more about the concept of contract farming.
Ms Delela Abebaw is a rural landholder from the village of Gergera, in Dera district. At 18 years of age, she is one of the youngest members of the local Selam Lelemat Saving and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) serving the village. In July 2018, Ms Delela was awarded 15,000 ETB from the AgroBIG Women and Youth Loan Fund – disbursed via the SACCO – to boost her maize and potato production business, and finance an additional sheep fattening venture.
During its second phase, AgroBIG has engaged three Cooperative Saving and Credit Unions (COSACUs) in the target districts as partners in managing the revolving Women and Youth Loan Fund instrument (EUR 800,000). The funds are disbursed via the COSACUs to participating village Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs), who in turn issue working capital loans to individual women and youth members as well as to women and youth groups upon approved loan requests. To date, 11 SACCOs have received loan funds for 484 clients (of which 78% are women) to engage in business in AgroBIG selected commodities.
Tailor-made in-service trainings are an integral part of AgroBIG strategy aiming to strengthen the capacities of key implementers. Since the beginning of Programme implementation, several training sessions have been successfully managed by AgroBIG Programme Support Unit.
AgroBIG has established two Cluster Platforms to serve stakeholders within the Programme area. The Platforms aim to bring together all value chain actors, supporters and enablers to discuss common agendas related to the value chains that AgroBIG supports, and to ensure that all value chain actors’ capacities, contributions and needs are considered in Programme implementation.
A public field day was conducted on April 20th 2018 at four onion and potato on-farm demonstration trials in Koga irrigation command area, North Mecha district. A total of 127 participants converged at the selected farms in Chehona, Ambomesk, Enguti and Tagel. The discussion centred on the performance of the trials, at 45 days after planting.
AgroBIG works hard to ensure a better balance in the participation of women and men, as well as a more equal distribution amongst women and men of the (future) benefits of Programme interventions.
Ms Endalsh Worke is 29 years old and resides in Merawi town, Mecha North. Having dropped out of school in the 9th grade, she has since established and run her own potato business.
For the past 11 years, Endalsh has supplied potato seed to smallholder farmers in the area, and in turn, purchased their harvest to re-sell on the market. The success of this business has enabled her and her five family members to enjoy increased financial security and material prosperity.
AgroBIG continues to work in Koga irrigation command area in North Mecha, addressing challenges related to soil fertility management, use of lime and quality seed. The programme has teamed up with Koga Irrigation Project (KIP) agronomists to establish 18 on-farm potato and onion trials in the area.