The first Horticultural Farmers Day was celebrated here in Ethiopia at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) campus on 29 April 2015. The event was organized by the SupHort project in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Livestock and Irrigation Value Chains for Ethiopian smallholders (LIVES) project and other partners. About 200 participants took part in this event. The major focus of the event was in bringing together farmers and other key stakeholders to share and discuss their experiences and challenges in the horticulture sector and its impacts on their livelihoods; creating linkages with agri-business sector players and improving market access; and putting down recommendations on issues needing attention by stakeholders in the sector.
The event had different sessions; discussions, presentations and a marketplace displaying horticultural technologies and outputs. LIVES staff participated in all these sessions. At the marketplace, posters on assessing profitability and risk of irrigated crops, gender and agriculture and alternative media for raising tomato hybrid seedlings were presented. In addition, new technologies introduced by LIVES that can be used by smallholders such as Wetting Front Detector (WFT) devices, zero-energy cooling chamber solar water pump, feed choppers, biogas digesters, feeding trough for small ruminants and many more were displayed.
Different varieties of watermelon and hybrid tomatoes produced by LIVES farmers in the Oromia region, as well as a new popcorn variety produced by LIVES farmers in Amhara region were displayed for tasting and testing preferences of participants (see the result of the taste test by event participants). In addition, two LIVES farmers, one trained on pump maintenance and another trained on grafting, joined the event to share their experiences and demonstrate how they are applying their new skills. Participants interacted with LIVES staff and farmers and discussed the various technologies introduced, outputs displayed and took publications of LIVES as well as from the former Improving the Productivity and Market Success of Ethiopian Farmers (IPMS) project for further reference.
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