Radio programme pro innovation and con COVID-19
In April and June — together with regional agriculture and health bureaus — the Green Innovation Centre ran radio programmes in two major languages of Ethiopia. The series informed an estimated 1.5 million farmers about innovations they could use in their production while spreading precautionary information against Corona.
It also covered the status of desert locust infestation, control measures and the role of farmers in the process. 30,000 flyers and 3,000 posters, with measures against COVID-19, also assisted the awareness campaign for rural farming and semi-urban communities.
“I am happy that we could reach so many farmers through the radio programme. It was an opportunity to help protect farmers’ families from COVID-19 and introduce some of our innovations, good agricultural practices and ideas to increase agricultural productivity,” said Sebsebe Zewde, Amhara regional project manager.
In addition to the mass information efforts, face masks and sanitisers were provided to agricultural experts and development agents who continue to support farmers during the pandemic.
Furthermore, the Green Innovation Centre Ethiopia distributed megaphones to facilitate open-air agricultural advisory services. The megaphones are also used to promote messages for personal care and protective measure against COVID-19 to an estimated 400,000 farmer households.
This outreach campaign was complemented by supplying agricultural inputs to farmers in order for them to be able to cultivate the highest wheat and legumes yield. Seeds, fertilizers, improved cultivators, ploughs and farm implements were made available to farmers who are members of a Rotation Based On-Farm Demonstration scheme, which is introduced to promote good agricultural practices, crop rotation and row seeding for over 120,000 smallholders. The provision is also entailing helping twenty seed-producing farmers’ cooperatives multiply seed for the coming years.
Blended learning – Training for trainers with a new advisory approach
Agricultural training is one of the activities affected by the outbreak of Corona. Considering this challenge, the Green Innovation Centre is exploring a blended-learning approach—for the first time in Ethiopia—to introduce a combination of virtual and practical training for farmer trainers: development agents. A client-centred extension approach, which uses a multitude of training aids, is at the heart of the blended-learning approach where development agents are trained to serve farmers as clients. A mobile application will facilitate the learning process by helping trainees learn new methodologies and practical courses for the field.
The project is similarly developing and testing simulation games to facilitate learning and smooth exchange between development agents and farmers. The game helps the agents to learn more about sustainable agriculture, in particular crop rotation, mulching, agricultural mechanization and good agricultural practices.