Scientists explore opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing between Indian and Ethiopian Agrifood systems.
Nitesh Singh and Richa Sharma Puri
CIMMYT-BISA organised an exposure visit of researchers from India to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Around eleven scientists from Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Rajendra Prasad Agricultural University (RAU) and BISA received an opportunity to visit the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and other research institutions in Ethiopia. Each participant got the opportunity to visit and share knowledge with different stakeholders from Private, Government and research institutions working collaboratively to enhance the income of marginal and small farmers.
The exposure visit started with an introduction to the Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA). Participants got an overview of the AICCRA which helps deliver a climate-smart African future driven by science and innovation in agriculture. AICCRA is supported by a grant from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank with an aim to make climate information services and climate-smart agriculture more accessible to millions of smallholder farmers across Africa. One such innovation is delivering decision-relevant digital climate agro advisories for enhancing the adoption and impact of climate-smart technologies and practices. International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) scientists collaborated with Jokolante, a Senegalese Agritech company, the Senegalese National Meteorological Agency (ANACIM) and the Regional Center for Improvement of Plant Adaptation to Drought (CERAAS) of the Senegalese Institute of Agricultural Research (ISRA) to develop a climate advisory service through a decision tree process known as iSAT, which is intended for smallholder crop and livestock farmers. The iSAT process builds context-specific and real-time climate and agro-advisory information available through ICT. The “intelligent agricultural Systems Advisory Tool – iSAT” generates and disseminates pre- and in-season advisories by integrating insights from historical trends in climate, current weather and climate and weather forecasts. The pre-season advisory is based on the seasonal climate forecast and aimed at improving the preparedness of farmers for the forthcoming season. The in-season advisories are aimed at providing advice on the various farm operations where weather may play a role in management, i.e., land preparation, timing of planting and harvesting, crop management etc.
Participants also got a chance to visit Lersha, one of the emerging entrepreneurship models. Lersha provides a one-stop digital service to smallholder farmers and enables them to access farm inputs, hire mechanization services, and request dynamic agro-climate advice using technology. With its wide agent network and digital platform, Lersha aims to add value to smallholder farmers using an aggregation model by automating the process of placing online orders of livestock and Agri-products through its agents for efficient and fast delivery.
An Interaction with Digital Green also took place which gave our participants a chance to learn about the importance of digitization in the fast-growing technology era. One of the unique features was the use of telegram-assisted advisory; the Telegram Bot enabled extension agents to generate site-specific recommendations for specific locations. Their strong association with the Women’s Health Group, Youth Association and Self-Help groups enabled them to reach the marginal and remote farmers. Overall, their vision is to create a world where farmers use technology and data to build prosperous communities.
Participants also visited the National Meteorology Agency (NMA) and interacted with Fetene Teshome, Director General and Kinfe Hailemariam, Deputy Director General. Participants visited their EMI data centre and control room where live data was being recorded.
On the last day, participants visited the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Institute (ATI) where they received an overview of the Digital Agriculture Extension and Advisory Services (DAEAS) Roadmap and selected ATI projects. They informed the participants that the DAEAS project was officially launched in July 2022 with the vision of delivering customized digital services to all farmers in Ethiopia. To achieve this, they have identified 30 initiatives across 6 focus areas. The road will deliver initiatives across three key layers of the digital ecosystem and will enable coordination among existing elements, to address the critical gaps.