A co-operation between the Ethiopian institute Orda and the Norwegian Forestry Group (NFG) has resulted in the establishment of a small research and development centre that includes operative functions. The lab outside Bahir Dahr in Ethiopia is now producing a small volume of plants that are completely free of disease.

The establishment of the centre has taken time (7-8 years) due to several layers of bureaucracy in determining where the lab would be established and whom would be involved in the research centre, which includes buildings, a greenhouse and diverse infrastructure, e.g. roads, gate, etc. The centre is established using State funds, financial assistance from Orda and some external aid.

Initially plant production has been carried out using standard tree nursery production practices while a specialised entity for vegetative propagation was being established. The building for vegetative propagation is now in place and a small volume of plant material is being produced using cloning with quality improvement for each generation of clones for bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, Chilean blueberries, avocadoes, apples and bamboo.

Professor and Lab Technician Melabu Adrmas informed that the goal of the vegetative program is to provide rural Ethiopia with high quality, healthy planting material over the long-term. The Professor conducted a tour of the lab emphasising that the process for vegetative propagation requires a sterile environment, specialised equipment and highly qualified lab assistants. The final product was stored in small glass holders, each containing a small healthy plant that would soon be planted out. There were 13 (14) persons working at the centre including University researchers, the technical staff and administrative personnel.

Outside the production centre is a greenhouse that is filled with plants that are earlier generations. The plants are given care prior to being set out in the Ethiopian agricultural landscape that has rich soils, but with very difficult climate challenges. The planting material must therefore contain all the nutrients needed to get a good start. In time, the lab aims to provide a variety of planting materials that are adapted to the local climate as it changes.

The lab has provided planting materials for the past 3 years, but month 2018 was the first planting season with proper production. These plants have been very useful for those farmers who have been supplied with new planting materials. Orda is working with developing a customer base, now that planting material is coming online. In time the sale of planting material is expected to give a profit. The current buyers are State institutions, farmer co-operatives, NGOs, farmers and private investors. Acting Director at Orda, Tesaka Miskie, believes that the market will slowly grow and become stronger.

 

 

During the period 22-24 January 2019, the representatives of the Royal Norwegian Embassy [RNE] in Addis Ababa conducted a survey to the Project sites in Amhara Region, specifically in Bahir Dar and surroundings.

This started by organizing a working session gathering the representatives of the local stakeholders working and/or involved in different programs in Amhara Region, funded by the Norwegian Government/RNE. During this session, the representatives from NFG-FLR Program, Amhara Environmental Authority, REDD+ Coordination Unit, ICRAF-PATSPO Project, Sustainable Land Management Project, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development  presented and discussed with RNE representatives the substance and the development of the their respective programs in Amhara region.

This working session was supported by some field sessions notably to the Tissue Culture Laboratory managed by ORDA and supported by NFG-FLR Program; to the Seed Centers supported by ICRAF-PATSPO Project and sites of Church forests.

On the 24th of January 2019, NFG-FLR Program organized a field trip for RNE representatives to Ebinat Woreda, in Serawudi Kebele, which is the 1st pilot area for FLR Program interventions. During this visit, RNE representatives had the opportunity to be acquainted with what was initiated in the area and discussed relevant issues regarding FLR activities with the representatives of the local communities and stakeholders. Visit to the nursery

NFG have supported a stove project that encourages rural Ethiopian women to produce wood stoves for sale. These stoves require less wood and therefore women do not need to spend as much time collecting firewood, which again is an advantageous to the village and in the long run for the natural environment.Ehtnesh has received a new stove in her kitchen for making meals for the family. She can now save time with regards to collection of firewood, as well as reducing the amount of smoke in her home that was a danger to the health of the family.

Women are often the key to a well-run village in rural Ethiopia. However they often need to spend excessive amounts of time to gather firewood, which over time is only found at greater distances from the home. An effective stove for cooking food, allows the women to take fewer trips (75% fewer) to the woods for fuel, informs Project Coordinator Yeshanew Ashagrie Abitew.

The time saved in collecting firewood is now available for production of stoves, amongst other things. For example, some women have had time to engage in the café business, which also provides an income. They are also available to work in the fields, which gives them a right to participate in decision-making when discussions about area utilisation are held. Knowledge about the issues of area utilisation is being provided through local courses in regards to biodiversity and sustainable use of the land. This opportunity is a direct result of their participation in the stove project.

The Project Coordinator informed that the main objective of the stove project is to improve the sustainability of land use in Ethiopia. This entails that more trees are planted to sustain the soils, improve the local climate and provide much needed resources at the local level.