27-11-2019 | di COOPI
Ethiopia: 1,000 fruit plants distributed and beneficiaries trained in agriculture
In the Afar region, in north-eastern Ethiopia, 140 beneficiaries of the Sebana Demale, Lele Ala, Tonsa and Dabure districts have received 1,080 fruit seedlings in the last two months and have been trained in agronomic techniques, thanks to the project "Integrated approach to strengthen the resilience of drought-affected populations in zones 1, 2 and 5 of the Afar Region”, led by COOPI and funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS).
COOPI aims to relaunch the production of vegetables and fruit in an area affected by recurring droughts and food insecurity, to supplement the low-calorie diet of pastoral communities and reduce their dependence on humanitarian aid. For this reason, in October, COOPI distributed 240 papaya, 240 mango and 600 guava plants for a total area of about 6 hectares. In the coming months, horticultural and cereal plants’ seeds, such as tomato and pepper, onion, sesame, sorghum and corn, will be planted on another area of about 10 hectares.
The distribution was also accompanied by training and mentoring.
The training was conducted using a participatory approach, including tests to assess the beneficiaries' previous and acquired knowledge. As Fabio Castronovo, COOPI Project Leader in Afar, explains, "After the initial tests, we found out that beneficiaries had a poor perception of the agronomic techniques in use and they almost new nothing about entomology, plant pathology and pest control".
The training was therefore a practical and effective way to fill the gaps of the beneficiaries: "After the post-training tests, agricultural communities have actually acquired new agronomic techniques. However, our monitoring and consultancy work will continue until the end of the project, scheduled for April 2020, so that the beneficiaries will not mechanically carry out what they have learned during the training, but will consciously think about the correct use of the techniques to be applied", concludes Castronovo.
Since November 2019, beneficiaries have been assisted by COOPI staff for the tutoring phase, during the preparation of the holes and the transplanting of the plants.
Agricultural activities are some of the interventions provided by the project “Integrated approach to strengthen the resilience of drought-affected populations in zones 1, 2 and 5 of the Afar Region ", funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and that, since October 2018, assists 48,000 people, with water and hygiene and food security activities, in a region exposed to recurring crises due to climate change and therefore in a state of chronic emergency.