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On-station and on-farm trials using two wheel tractors with ancillary equipment in FACASI trial sites in Ethiopia

FACASI trails using two wheel tractors

The FACASI project in Ethiopia has two sites. The first site, Assela is located in South Eastern Ethiopia, 200 kms away from the capital Addis Ababa. Assela is also known because of its high altitude and a place where wheat and barley production takes place in the country. The second site Dore bafeno and Tulla Woredas is located 295 kms away from the capital in the South and 20 kms away from Hawassa city. It is a low land altitude area where maize is mostly grown.

Female farmer at the field day explaining how she used the 2WT planter to get a good plantAt the first site in Assela, five male farmers and one female farmer were involved in testing two selected multi-crop planters (2BFG-100 Chinese made & VMP Bangladeshi made) using the wheat crop on their farm. During the field day organized in both trial sites, the perceptions of the farmers before the trial was mainly concerned about planting with limited ploughing. Most of the farmers thought it was a joke especially the neighboring farmers. They said they plough at least four times and wondered how possible, that this could be done with just one minimum till? "We will see what you will end up? "They said. The project team however calibrated the machines with the trial participating farmers and proceeded to do the trials. Conservation agriculture is a new concept to the farmers, questions were asked about the two wheel tractor and its accessories, how it could be procured and the costs. These are questions that have been asked continuously at most of the field days held.

At the second trial site, five farmers were involved, all were men and four machines were used during the on-farmA farmers explains the use of the 2WT planter- Hawassa trials. VMP & JM planters were the successful planters appreciated by the participating farmers. Two wheel tractors with CA planters were demonstrated and the resulting wheat and maize crops were enough to convince the field day participating farmers about the technologies.

The FACASI project has indeed brought new technologies to the farming community in which mechanization together with conservation agriculture will help the small holder farmers in reducing the drudgery involved in conventional tillage, planting and applying fertilizer. The field days have been organized by the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research at both on-station and on-farm trial sites, i.e. Kulumsa Agricultural Research Center, Hawassa Agricultural Research Center, Dorebafeno, Tulla and Tiyo woredas. A total of 84 men and 36 women farmers have participated in these field events. The FACASI project members from CIMMYT, EIAR researchers, Oromia and Southern regional micro finance institutions representatives, and youth groups from both project sites have also participated.

Ethiopia has a great opportunity when it comes to obtaining two wheel tractors. This is due to the fact that 5000 units have been imported and assembled by Metal & Engineering Company, the Agricultural Machinery Industry division (METEC). Although it is difficult to immediately respond to the farmers’ demands with a pilot project like FACASI at this stage, the project has however achieved the creation of awareness of the two wheel tractors through the successful on-farm trials addressing the technology and information gaps.

By Bisrat Getnet-Ethiopia










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