Africa / Animal Feeding / Article / DRYLANDSCRP / Ethiopia / Forages / HUMIDTROPICS

Policy and knowledge needed to boost forage seed production

By Asebe Abdena, Forage seed production officer at ILRI, Debre Zeit Centre
Field day in Ethiopia: Chloris gayana grass
An improved policy environment coupled with adequate knowledge brokering are necessary if improved feed and forest seed production, processing and marketing systems are to be realized in Ethiopia. There is also need to create advocacy on feed and forest seeds business and attract new private investors to this development endeavor as well as build and strengthen the relationship among the enterprise, out grower farmers,  Development Bank of Ethiopia, civil society, NGOS and Research centers and other stakeholders.

These were some of the observations made at a recent one day field day and discussion forum was organized by Ethiopian Meat and Dairy Technology Institute (EMDTI) on October 25, 2012 at Ephiratana Gidim Woreda Ataye village N/Shewa Zone, Amahara Regional State 280 km from the capital Addis Ababa.  Other organisers were Eden Field Agri-Seed Enterprise (EFASE) & International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Challenges cited in the effort to produce good quality seed include land ownership for forage seed multiplication; lack of adequate knowledge on forage seed production techniques; limited seed processing and seed storage facilities; high price of forage seed for farmers and lack of basic seeds. Others include lack of awareness on forage seed production, lack of support and incentives; low attention on policy issues related  to livestock particularly on forage seed production; lack of high quality mother trees; market uncertainty and price fluctuation on forage seeds and lack of regulation on seed quality. About 60 relevant stakeholders participated from both government and NGO including EIAR.

ILRI offered to back stop lack of adequate knowledge on forage seed production techniques as well as supplying high quality true to type basic seeds in collaboration with EMDTI. Various stakeholders among the participants showed interest to support the enterprise in their area of profession and appreciated the over all initiative that Eden Field Agri-Seed Enterprise took in forage seed production which is the bottle neck for livestock production in Ethiopia.

I found “the field day very interesting and I suggest that these type of initiatives should be encouraged by all parties and followed up for further development and improvement”.

Eden Field Agri-Seed Enterprise is a privately owned profit making enterprise founded by Ato Getahun Haile in 2008. The enterprise has been engaged in producing, processing and marketing of forage and forest seeds to fill the gaps of both quantity and quality seed supply in Ethiopia. It has been playing a substantial role not only contributing towards the efforts of the country in fulfilling the supply gaps of forage and forest seeds, but also promoting improved seed production and processing techniques and technology transferring in the country by working in collaboration with out grower farmers, research centers, NGOs and others directly and indirectly involved in this development endeavors.

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