INTEGRATED RAINWATER MANGEMENT FOR ENHANCED LIVELIHOODS WHILE SUSTAINING ENVIRONMENT




Baseline survey narrative of project sites (Jeldu, Fogera and Diga Woredas)
(26/07/2010-6/08/2010)


Team members:
  1. Kebebe Ergano (ILRI),
  2. Alemayehu Belay (ILRI), and
  3. Gerba Leta (ILRI-IWMI)




1. Background
A rapid diagnosis was carried out to determine the current awareness level of rainwater management strategies among farmers, communities, Woreda and NGO staff for integrated rainwater management project of the Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) at Jeldu, Fogera and Diga Woredas. The project starts with the view that uptake and successful implementation of rain water management technologies requires detailed understanding of how landscapes function (biophysically and socially), how different landscape components are connected and how changes in one component will bring about direct and indirect changes in others. Hence, the presence, roles, interactions and ways of working of a range of actors involved directly or indirectly in rainwater management were also assessed. The aim of the survey was to establish constraints to innovation that can subsequently be addressed through learning platforms. Hence this report outlines the biophysical features of each Woreda and describes the stakeholders working around crop and livestock husbandry and natural resource management.
Key informant interviews, focused group discussions and field observations were used to gather relevant information in each Woreda. The discussions were facilitated with a checklist of discussion points prepared by the team. Wherever possible, secondary data on the basic features of the Woredas was collected.
2. Description of project sites
1. Jeldu Woreda
General Description
The visiting team briefed about the purpose of the visit, the vision, duration and the general approach of the project to the Woreda Administration, Woreda Office of Agriculture and Rural Development and Woreda Office of Water Resources at Jeldu.
Jeldu Woreda is located at 09 15’ 54.9” N; 038 04’ 54.4” E, approximately 115 km west of Addis Ababa in West Shewa Zone of Oromia regional state. It has an elevation range of 2500 – 3200 masl. The total population of the Woreda is 202,655 (out of which 102,796 are female and 99,859 are males). The average household size is 7 persons in the Woreda. The Woreda has total area of 139, 389 ha with variable agro ecology of high lands (45%), midlands (30%) and lowlands (25%). According to the key informants, average land holding in the Woreda is 2 ha per household.
Apart from some fluctuations in recent years, generally, the Woreda has a bi-modal rainfall pattern whereby it receives the short rain ‘belg’ rains between March and April which helps land preparation, planting of maize, sorghum and potato planting; while the main rainy season starts from mid May and continues up to mid September during which time the main cropping is done. The land use pattern is summarised in Table 1.
Table 1: Land use classification of Jeldu Woreda
Land use type
Area (ha)
Proportion (%)
Arable land
60,457
43.4
Grazing land
21,350
15.3
Forest land
5,400
3.9
Others (barren degraded lands, buildings, grave yards, roads, etc)
52,182
37.4

Source: Jeldu Woreda Office of Agriculture and Rural Development
Crop Production
The Woreda features crop-livestock mixed farming system. Land preparation is mainly done by oxen-drawn plough in the Woreda. Family labour is the main source of farm labour in the Woreda except for potato production for which farmers use hired labour and pay up to 15 Birr a day. The types of crops grown in the Woreda differ in different agro-ecologies. Barley, wheat, potato, faba bean, pea and oil seeds are the major crops grown in the highland part of the Woreda. In the midland areas wheat and teff are dominant crops followed by sorghum and maize. In the lowlands, the major crops produced include sorghum, maize, teff and oil seeds, particularly Niger seed.
Crop rotation and fallowing are practiced for the purpose of maintaining soil fertility. The crop rotation pattern differs in each agro-ecology. In the highlands farmers rotate cereals (wheat/barley/teff) with legumes (faba bean, pea) at two to three year intervals. Crop rotation cycles can be shorter depending on the soil fertility levels. In the lowlands sorghum/maize is rotated with teff or oil seeds (if soil becomes depleted of nutrients) at two to three year intervals.
Fallowing is commonly practiced by farmers in the highlands to maintain soil fertility. It is also practiced by farmers to alleviate livestock feed shortage by using the fallow land for grazing. However, due to the land shortages resulting from population growth over the years, fallowing practices are diminishing. There are some traditional irrigation practices in certain pockets of the Woreda although farmers do not have access to necessary technical support.
The key informants identified the following challenges for crop production in the Woreda:
1. High price of fertilizer and improved seeds: the price of fertilizer is ever increasing over the years. In the current cropping season, the costs of one quintal of DAP and urea fertilisers are Birr 790 and 680, respectively. In addition to the high price, the delay in the delivery of fertilizers is frustrating farmers. Fertilizer arrives late during planting. Compost is being promoted to reduce the problem related with fertilizer. In addition to fertilizer, there is also lack of access to improved varieties (for instance farmers mentioned using a barley variety which is as old as the emperor’s era).
2. Soil fertility problem: farmers believe that soil fertility is declining starting from early 80s. Recently, awareness about terracing and other soil and water conservation activities is improving as a result of the trainings given by development agents (DAs). As a result the interest to construct terraces is growing among farmers.
3. Shortage of farm land: This is associated with population pressure.
4. Limited knowledge in irrigation: Existing indigenous small scale irrigation practices need technical support.
5. Conflicts on land: - as a result of land shortage there are some households who rent in land for farming. Those farmers who rent in land mainly plant eucalyptus tree on farm lands. When the land owner wants his/her land back, the farmer who rented in land claims compensation for the trees he planted on the farm land, triggering conflict. This has become a new trend in the Woreda. From what we have observed there is indeed a trend to plant eucalyptus tree on fertile farm lands. Farmers are using eucalyptus as income source. However, planting eucalyptus on fertile farm lands could eventually have negative consequences on soil fertility and ground water.
Livestock Production
Livestock are an integral part of the farming system in the Woreda. According to the assessment of the key informants, livestock account for 30% of their livelihood (both as income source as well as subsistence), while the majority (70%) is covered by crop production. According to the data collected from the Woreda livestock agency, there are 192,348 cattle of the local breed, 256 Borena cattle, 98 cross bred cows; 70,646 sheep, 26,580 goats, 14,299 horses, 6,894 donkey, 621 mules, and 55,428 poultry in Jeldu Woreda. The key informants reported that one can find 8 cattle on average in a household. The major purpose of keeping livestock is for draught power. Major livestock products such as milk and meat have secondary importance to the farmers. Small ruminants are mainly used as income sources as well as for household consumption. Open grazing appears to be the major source of feed. However, farmers are challenged by shrinking grazing land and turning towards alternative options ranging from private grazing to intensive livestock husbandry. Crop residues are increasingly becoming an important source of livestock feed. Farmers use natural grass hay, barley, wheat and pulses straws as animal feed in the mid-altitude areas and highlands. Very few farmers in towns use concentrate feeds such as sunflower cake, wheat bran and linseed cake as supplemental feed for their livestock. Improved fodder grasses such as elephant grass exist only in the backyards of few households (may be 1 or 2 according to key informants). It could be an option to pursue with proper training and management.
Livestock production is facing numerous challenges:
  1. Feed shortage: open grazing has been the most common source of livestock feed in the Woreda. However, due to shortage of land, grazing lands are shrinking, causing serious feed shortage.
  2. Livestock diseases and shortage of medicaments: Livestock diseases are a serious problem especially for the introduced Borena and exotic breeds. Mastitis particularly, has been mentioned as a problem. Farmers mentioned that Holetta Agricultural Research Center (HARC) used to provide vaccines and that cows used to give birth to vigorous and healthy calves. However, as the project of HARC phased out in the Woreda, vaccines became inaccessible.
  3. Access to improved breeds: There is a huge interest among farmers for dairy but there is a critical problem of access to improved dairy breeds. The blood levels of exotic breeds (Holstein and Jersey) introduced to the Woreda is diminishing and milk yield is decreasing. According to key informants, just after the improved breeds were introduced the milk production was as high as 12 litres a day but now it has decreased to 4 litres. About 8 farmers have been given training on dairy production in the Woreda. There were even attempts to establish a dairy cooperative, although they did not flourish due to existing uncertainties in production and marketing of dairy products. Along with the productivity, there is high level of uncertainty with the artificial insemination being offered to the farmers. They mentioned that dairy cows do not conceive even after repeated insemination.
  4. Shortage of Artificial Insemination (AI) services: This service is constrained by many factors including shortage of trained AI technicians, logistic problems, unavailability of semen, poor heat detection by farmers, poor road access, etc. Due to the undulating terrain of the area, road access to the Kebeles is a big challenge to government AI technicians.
  5. Market Problem: There are 8 private milk vendors operating in the Woreda. They are concerned that if everyone produces milk, then there will be a market problem to absorb the excess production. The fear emanates from two grounds: one is the distance from nearest towns and the bad road for milk transportation. The other one emerges from what farmers experienced with potato seed production and marketing. Until recently Jeldu was a model Woreda where farmers produced potato seeds and distributed to most parts of the country. Now almost every farmer in Jeldu have started producing potato seeds and production has also spread to surrounding areas; this has resulted in reduced price and income.
Natural Resource Management (NRM)
The Woreda is characterized by undulating land which makes it vulnerable to land degradation by soil erosion. According to the information collected from Woreda agricultural experts, historically, there have been natural resource management interventions done in the Woreda. The first soil and water conservation structures were introduced during the Derg regime around 1984/85. Terraces made of soil bunds had been constructed. However, all the conservation structures were destroyed when the Derg lost power in 1991. The experts believe that such kinds of interventions were doomed to fail since they were imposed on farmers. There was a belief by the farmers that those interventions were done for the advantage of the regime rather than soil conservation per se. In addition, farmers believed that terraces actually reduce the size of land used for crops. Constructing and maintaining soil conservation structures was also very laborious for farmers.
In the last three years, natural resource management activities have been given priority and are being implemented in about 11 kebeles of the Woreda. Terracing (stone bunds), raising and distribution of seedlings for agro forestry plantations and distributions of livestock fodder seeds/seedlings are among the activities being done. However, these conservation activities are limited only to drought prone and food insecure Kebeles where Food for Work schemes are supported by the Woreda Disaster Preparedness and Prevention office. As a result of the recent soil and water conservation activities by the Woreda office of agriculture, farmers’ awareness about natural resource management is showing a gradual improvement. The attitudinal change is brought by the scarcity of wood for household fuel (which used to be abundant in the corner of every household) and the decline in crop productivity. In addition, farmers are becoming aware of the advantages of contour ploughing as opposite to their traditional way of farming that erodes the soil. The Woreda office of agriculture has budget constraint to out-scale the activities to other parts. Besides, there were no on-the-job trainings given to the Woreda experts on rain water management and soil and water conservation.
Institutional Landscaping: Stakeholders and their roles
One of the main purposes of this diagnosis was to identify stakeholders in the Woreda who are working in the areas of natural resource management, livestock and crop production. Characterizing the existing stakeholder interaction, challenges and opportunities are essential to establish innovation platforms around important issues.
The following actors and their roles were identified in Jeldu Woreda.
I. Government line Departments
1. Woreda Office of Administration: - main role is facilitating the overall administrative structures existing in the Woreda towards the current development agenda of the government, the office plays vital role and is a key strategic stakeholder for the project.
2. Woreda Office of Agriculture and Rural Development: with its several departments, it provides extension services to farmers on improved crop and livestock production, as well as natural resource management. By default, it could play a crucial role in terms of facilitating a learning and practice alliance.
3. Cooperative Promotion Office: working in parallel with the office of agriculture, this office identifies potential commodities/sectors for which a cooperative is feasible (in terms of income generation and market) and based on the feasibility it promotes and helps farmers to establish cooperatives.
4. Holetta Agricultural Research Center (HARC): have been actively engaged in the Woreda in demonstration and wide scaling up of improved potato seed and tuber production, introduction of improved breeds for dairy production along with its full package (vaccines, etc), training and dissemination of knowledge and information for farmers and Woreda agricultural experts, and introduction of bee hives. Although, most of its projects do not seem to be active at the moment, there is a high potential to be tapped from engaging this center into a wider knowledge sharing system.
II. Private Enterprises/Associations
5. Licensed Veterinary practitioners: although they are few in number, they supply the drugs and give treatment to livestock. Despite their importance there is a tendency to avoid traveling to lowland areas of the Woreda to give treatment. These businesses operate on individual interest basis, hence work needs to be done to incorporate them in the bigger circle and magnify their role.
6. Oromia Saving and Credit Association, Walko Saving and Credit Association, and Busagonofa Saving and Credit Association: Provide credit services on relatively lower interest rates for farm productivity. Farmers and small enterprises are the main targets/clients of the association.
7. Traders: involved in the purchase and marketing of sheep and cattle to the nearest town- Ginchi (37 Kms) and Addis Ababa (115Kms).
8. Brokers: although not that strong in the livestock market, they sometimes play a crucial role in the market value of some livestock, according to experts from the Woreda office of agriculture.
9. Farmers: play crucial role in testing improved technologies, sharing indigenous knowledge and experiences, providing feedback and facilitating farmer to farmer learning platform.
III. Non-Governmental Organizations
10. Hunger Project: although its project is phasing out this year, it has been engaged in the food insecure lowland parts of the Woreda for the last 5 years working on the food for work type of scheme. With community participation, it has been working on livestock and human health centers, construction of schools, and potable water developments.
11. Hundee: operates in the area of grain market, introduction of forest seedlings and improved fodder seeds. Although it failed, previously the organization had introduced elephant grass to 38 households.
12: Hope 2020: has been involved in construction of primary school, drinking water development and health facilities at Jeldu.
Past and present innovations: Potato seed multiplication and marketing practices initiated by Holeta Agricultural Research Center has been successful at Jeldu. There are promising NRM initiatives underway in the Woreda. This can be an entry point to establish a stakeholder platform around NRM. The area is also suitable to the production of high value horticultural crops such as apple. Presence of indigenous irrigation practices can be a fertile ground to establish innovation platform on irrigated agriculture. There is a potential for sheep production and commercial dairy if the marketing issue is tackled.
Innovation Gap: We could not find a dependable stakeholder who can navigate complex political and institutional landscapes by building networks of practitioners and policy actors willing to advocate and promote the approach.

2. Fogera Woreda
General Description
With the help of Improving Productivity & Market Success (IPMS) personnel in Fogera (Ato Tilahun), the team contacted Ato Worku Mulat, head Fogera Woreda Office of Agriculture and Rural Development, and explained about the intentions of the project to be implemented in the Woreda. A short briefing was given by the visiting team about the overall theme, the duration and the general context of the project. Ato Worku expressed his appreciation to ILRI for the activities being done through IPMS project and also showed keen interest to work with ILRI in future. Other than the Woreda Office of Agriculture, contact was also made with the Woreda administration, Woreda Office of Water Development, and Woreta Agricultural Technical Vocational and Educational Training College.
Fogera Woreda is located at 11º55’24.77’’ N and 37º41’40.14’’ E in South Gondar Zone of Amhara regional state at approximately 625 Kms North West of Addis Ababa. It has an elevation range of 1774 – 2400 masl. The Woreda has a total area of 102, 807 hectares; out of which 69,745 ha (67.8%) is arable land, 14,987 ha (14.57%) is grazing land, 4,795.3ha (4.7%) is forest land and the rest 13,186.1 ha (12.8%) is used for roads, housing, etc. In terms of agro-ecology, more than 75% of the Woreda is flat land while the remaining area is categorised as highland and midland. The average land holding size in the Woreda, according to the key informants, is 1.5ha per household consisting of 8 persons on average. Even though there are some fluctuations over the years, generally, the Woreda has a mono-modal rainfall pattern whereby it receives rain from the month of June through September.
Crop Production
The Woreda features a crop-livestock mixed farming system. As Fogera Woreda has plain wetland suitable for rice production, rice (accounting for more than 20% of the Woreda’s arable land) is the dominant crop grown. In terms of economic importance rice ranks first followed by maize, millet, teff, barley and Niger seed, pepper, wheat and legumes. Double cropping is a common practice in Fogera, whereby farmers produce leguminous crops around October/November on residual moisture after the main crop (rice) is harvested from the field. According to the Woreda agricultural experts, there is a high potential for irrigation in 27 rural kebeles. Farmers are producing a large amount of vegetables using irrigation in the dry season. The introduction of staggered plantation practices by IPMS has contributed highly to the success of vegetable production in the area. Tomatoes, onion and potatoes are the major vegetables produced in the area.
Crop rotation is one of the common agronomic practices in the Woreda, where legume crops like chickpea and grasspea (Lathyrus sativus) are mainly used in the crop rotation cycle to improve soil fertility. Contour ploughing is used by farmers to prevent soil erosion from farm lands. In some cases, farmers also prepare compost so as to improve soil fertility. Fallowing is not a common practice in the Woreda.
Family labour is the main source of farm labour in the Woreda except for rice producing Kebeles, where farmers sometimes use hired labour for weeding and pay from 15 to 45 Birr per day depending on the seasonal demand for hired labour. For instance last year farmers paid 45 Birr but this year it went down to 15 Birr a day as the season enjoyed good rain which helped farmers to prepare land in good time.
Livestock Production
Intertwined with crop production, livestock is an important source of livelihood to the farmers. Based on the data collected from the Woreda livestock agency, there are 182,063 local breed cattle, 19,052 sheep, 26,920 goats, 14,433 donkeys, 1119 mules, 36 horses, and 133,278 poultry in the Woreda. There are 51 exotic breeds of livestock recorded in the Woreda. The key informants reported that one can find 6 cattle on average in a household. The major purpose of keeping livestock is to ensure replacement oxen for draught power. Other livestock products such as milk have secondary importance to the farmers. Small ruminants are mainly used as income sources as well as for household consumption.
Livestock production faces several challenges listed in the order below:
  1. Feed shortage: Both farmers and Woreda experts rated shortage of livestock feed as number one constraint to livestock production. In fact, one could easily notice how challenging the situation of the cattle is in Fogera Woreda driving along the main road. Animals are in poor condition despite the favourable rains this year. Similar to Jeldu, open communal grazing has been the most common source of livestock feed in Fogera Woreda as well. However, due to shortage of land, farmers are abandoning the tradition of reserving grazing lands for livestock; as a result grazing lands are shrinking. Thus there is a gradual shift by farmers to crop residues as important sources of livestock feed. Farmers use natural grass hay, rice and millet residues as animal feed. Even though farmers are aware of the advantage of protected grazing, there is no space for livestock to feed on until the grass on protected grazing lands matures. The practices of planting fodder grasses in soil bunds and farm borders are being encouraged by the office of agriculture. Although the responses are positive from the farmers’ side, a lot of work has to be done in terms of making improved fodder varieties accessible to the farmers as this seems to be the alternative viable option. Concentrate feeds such as industrial by-products are not common in rural areas.
  2. Livestock disease: Fascioliasis and black leg were mentioned as a problem in the Woreda.
  3. Shortage of improved breed: generally the Fogera breed is known to have high potential for dairy; the breeds in the Fogera plain having larger body frames than the ones in the highlands. However, according to Woreda agricultural experts, due to the feed shortage, farmers from highland Kebeles move indiscriminate breeds to the plains during the dry season, which has resulted in the dilution of the better yielding Fogera breed in the plains. The experts also added, reduction in production potential is also related to existing feed shortage. Shortage of improved breeds was also mentioned as a problem by experts. Farmers are aware of the advantages of improved breeds, but the use of improved breeds is threatened by the acute feed shortage in the Woreda which is affecting the local breeds already.
Farmers and experts pointed out that market for milk cannot be considered as a major problem with expanding markets at Bahir Dar and Woreta. There was one dairy cooperative established, according to the Woreda office of cooperative promotion, although it has not flourished due to a number of problems ranging from shortage of feeds, cross-bred cows, AI and veterinary services and markets.
Natural Resource Management (NRM)
Historically a range of NRM interventions were implemented during both Imperial and Derg regimes. Woreda experts explained that those attempts were not successful as they were imposed onto farmers. The interventions were more in the style of campaign works which did not give emphasis to farmers’ awareness about soil and water conservation. Moreover, the previous interventions were based on the simple fact that the Woreda is affected by flood without due attention to participatory planning with relevant stakeholders.
In Fogera Woreda a series of well organized and planned natural resource management activities are underway. According to the NRM section of the office of agriculture, currently soil and water conservation activities are being implemented in 21 Kebeles following the principles of watershed management. Woreda administration, offices of health, education, water resources, information and mass-media, police, etc. have participated in the planning of the natural resource management activities along with NRM sections of Agricultural office. The document (we have the Amharic copy of it) that describes detailed activity plan is compiled and distributed to all stakeholders. The major NRM activities implemented include soil and water conservation structures such as terracing, gully rehabilitation, agro forestry activities (e.g 400,000 seedlings are being distributed this year) and watershed developments.
Most of the NRM activities involved a community mobilization component to raise the awareness of farmers regarding soil and water conservation. After one month of full NRM campaign work, many structures have been built in 21 Kebeles. The administration from the regional to woreda level played a key role in the facilitation and coordination of NRM activities. Training on NRM was given to Woreda experts by the Zone Department of Agricultural and Rural Development.
Institutional Landscaping: Stakeholders and their roles
One of the main purposes of this trip was to identify a list of stakeholders in the Woreda who are working in the areas of natural resource management, livestock and crop production. Characterizing the existing stakeholder interaction, challenges and opportunities are essential to establish innovation platforms around important issues.
Past and present innovations: irrigated rice production is one of success stories in the country. Currently there are strong NRM initiatives underway in the Woreda. This can be an entry point to establish a stakeholder platform around NRM. The area is also characterized by successful innovations around vegetable production facilitated by IPMS. There is a huge potential for commercial dairy. The N2 project can build on previous experiences and promising initiatives currently underway.
The following actors and their roles were identified in Fogera Woreda.
I. Government line departments
1. Woreda Office of Administration: plays role in facilitating the overall administrative structures existing in the Woreda towards the current development agenda of the government. In addition, the office plays a leading role in the already started NRM activities.
2. Woreda Office of Agriculture and Rural Development: with its several departments, it provides extension services to farmers on improved crop and livestock production, as well as natural resource management. It can play a crucial role in terms of facilitating an innovation platform.
3. Adet and Andassa Agricultural Research Centers: - are involved in demonstration of improved technologies.
4. Woreda Cooperative Promotion Office: working alongside the office of agriculture, it identifies potential commodities/sectors for which a cooperative is feasible (in terms of income generation and market); and based on the feasibility it promotes and helps farmers establish cooperatives.
5. Woreda Office of Women’s Affairs: involved in providing training for women and hence improving involvement of women farmers in farm activities.
6. Woreda Peace and Security: involved in the control of illegal distribution of farm lands
7. Woreda Office of Communication and Public Relation: involved in the publicity and community mobilization, mainly for NRM activities.
8. Woreda Office of Youth and Sport: involved in community mobilization and campaigning.
II. Private Enterprises/Associations
9. Cooperatives: involved in seed and fertilizer supply, grain trading, providing credit for seed, fertilizer and initial irrigation investments
10. Farmers: play crucial role in testing improved technologies, sharing indigenous knowledge and experiences, providing feedback and facilitating farmer to farmer learning.
III. Non-Governmental Organizations
10. Improving Productivity & Market Success (IPMS) of Ethiopian Farmers: involved in the delivery of improved agricultural technologies (NERICA rice, tomato, Onion seed production, etc) in the last 5 years. It had also been involved in networking and strengthening the market access to farmers.
11. Ethio Wetlands and Natural Resources Association (EWNRA): although it arrived recently to the Woreda, it is involved in the NRM activities in 5 Kebeles of the Woreda.

3. Diga Woreda
General Description
After short briefing was given by our team about the overall theme, the duration and the general contexts of the program and/or project, discussions were made with Diga Woreda Office of Agriculture and Rural Development, Diga Woreda Administration, East Wellega Zonal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and key informant farmers.
Diga Woreda is one of the Woredas in East Wellega Zone of Oromia regional state located at 09 01’ 29.2” N; 036 27’ 28” E approximately 343 Kms west of Addis Ababa. Diga is bordered on the west and northwest by an exclave of the Benishangul-Gumuz Region, on the west by the Didessa River which separates it from the Illubabor Zone on the southwest and the Mirab Welega Zone on the west, on the north by Sasiga, on the northeast by Guto Gidda and on the southeast by Leka-Dulecha & Jimma Arjo. The administrative center of the Woreda is Diga; other towns in Diga include Arjo Gudetu. The administrative center of the Woreda is Diga; other towns in Diga include Arjo Gudetu. It has an elevation ranging from 1380 – 2300 masl. The Woreda has a total population of 68,906 (out of which 35,145 are female and 33,765 are males). On average a household has 7 persons in the Woreda. According to the key informants, average land holding size in the Woreda is 2ha per household. Out of the Woreda’s total area of 40,788.96 hectares of land, 27,817ha (68.2%) is arable land, 4999 ha (12.2%) is grazing land, 6894 ha (16.9%) is forest land and the rest 1078 ha (2.6%) is used for roads, housing, etc. The Woreda has both lowland (60%) and midland (40%) agro ecologies. Despite fluctuations over the years, generally, the Woreda has a mono modal rainfall pattern whereby it receives rain from mid March through November. The rains are particularly heavy from June to September. January to Mid March is known to be the dry season in the Woreda.
Crop Production
The Woreda features a crop-livestock mixed farming system. The types of crops grown and the general livelihood adaptation in the Woreda have been shaped by agro ecology. In the midland part of the Woreda, teff, Niger seed, coffee, maize, barley and faba bean take the major share of production; while the lowland area is dominated by maize, sorghum, sesame, fruit trees like mango and soybean.
Sesame is the major cash crop in the lowlands followed by livestock and maize in the lowland. Khat is also becoming an important cash crop since the arrival of settlers from Hararghe zones.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diga_Leka - cite_note-Oromia-0#cite_note-Oromia-0 Maize yield is among the highest in the country (over 8 tonnes per hectare) as farmers properly use high yielding variety seeds, fertilizer and agrochemicals. The lowlands of the Woreda are also known for fruits such as mango and oil crops like sesame. Coffee is another important cash crop. Farmers use small scale irrigation in the lowlands. But there is limited technical capacity on the use of water for irrigation. The experts also identified the absence of private sector that supplies and maintains irrigation pump sets.
Crop rotation, fallowing, relay cropping and intercropping are among the common agronomic practices in the Woreda. They are practiced for the purpose of maintaining soil fertility and improving crop productivity. In the mid lands for instance; maize, barley and millet are rotated with faba bean or Niger seed and teff over a 3 year production cycle. In the lowlands crop rotation is lengthy such that maize or sorghum is rotated with soya bean and sesame in 4-5 years interval. Intercropping of millet with sunflower; maize with haricot bean or potato are common agronomic practices in the lowlands.
Fallowing is more common in the lowlands as mono-cropping and application of a range of chemicals by the state farms has increased acidity of the soil. Hence, farmers in the lowlands commonly practice fallowing to improve productivity of the soil. Fallowing is not common in midlands. One of the reasons why farmers do not leave the land fallow is that the administration considers any farmer with fallow land as lazy and can redistribute the land.
In addition, shortage of farmland forced farmers to frequently cultivate their holdings. In general, farmers at the lowland part of the Woreda have a high level of awareness about soil conservation practices. Their experience is partly a legacy from the state farm whereas, the settlers have come with the knowledge from elsewhere.
Family labour is the main source of farm labour in the midlands of the Woreda where as both family and hired labour is used in the lowlands. Since most children attend schools, use of child labour for farm activities is decreasing in the midlands. Hired labour in the lowlands is used for ploughing and harvesting at wage rate of 20-30 birr a day.
Based on the key informants, the following are challenges of crop production in the Woreda:
  1. Land degradation: caused by interrelated factors such as; population pressure, expansion of farm land, over grazing, deforestation, firewood collection, cultivation of steep slopes and poor agronomic practices.
  2. Inadequate soil conservation practices, soil acidity and termite infestation

Livestock Production
Livestock production is an integral part of a crop-livestock mixed farming system in the Woreda. According to the data obtained from the Woreda livestock agency, there are 57,594 cattle, 11,220 sheep, 6091 goats, 136 horses, 2948 donkeys, 46 mules, and 31,242 poultry in Diga Woreda. The key informants reported that one can find 9 cattle on average in a household. The major purpose of keeping livestock is for draught power (ploughing and soil compaction). From the subsistence point of view, farmers ranked crops as primarily source of livelihoods followed by livestock. However, livestock contribute 70% of cash income in the assessment of farmer key informants (NB: Key informant farmers were taken from the midland part). One can observe that midland farmers are more subsistence oriented as compared to the market oriented lowlanders. The major sources of livestock feed in the Woreda include natural grazing (although it is shrinking now), crop residues (teff, millet, barley, Niger seed) and natural grass hay. Recently the office of agriculture introduced improved fodder species such as Rhodes and elephant grass which are well appreciated by farmers. During dry season, lowland farmers buy crop residues from Diga town (a town at the midland part of the Woreda) for livestock feed at a cost of 3 birr per bundle (sack).
The challenges of livestock production are listed below in order of importance:
  1. Feed shortage: open grazing has been the major source of livestock feed in the Woreda. However, due to shortage of land, grazing land is shrinking causing a feed shortage. Especially in midlands, there is severe feed and water shortage for livestock starting from December to March. As a result, there is a trend among the midland farmers to restrict cattle into individual grazing and homes where they tether and feed cattle with crop residues and hay. The fact that most children now attend schools has also contributed to this type of livestock management.
  2. Livestock diseases: - fascioliasis, black leg, foot and mouth disease, trypanosomiasis, bloat, and ticks-borne diseases are among the major diseases mentioned by the key informants.
  3. Subsistence oriented livestock production practices: - according to Woreda experts there is lack of awareness in improved methods of livestock husbandary that would lead to intensification.
  4. Lack of access to improved breeds: - attempts are made by the office of agriculture to introduce improved breeds like the Borena. But farmers said that these breeds are expensive to manage as they face difficulty to adapt to the new environment.
  5. Lack of trained manpower on Artificial Insemination (AI)
Opportunities for livestock production:-
- There is a substantial market for fattened livestock in the lowlands. Arjo town serves as a market outlet for fattened livestock. Livestock fattening is gathering momentum after the arrival of Harar settlers in the Woreda 7 years ago through a government resettlement campaign. Farmers around Harar are well known for their livestock fattening expertise.
- If the feed shortage and accessibility of improved breeds is improved, there is a considerable demand for milk in Nekemte, the nearest big town (12kms).
Natural Resource Management
Natural resource management was introduced in the area during the Derg regime. However, since it was imposed on farmers, it was destroyed when the government was overthrown in 1991. In addition to this, the establishment of state farms in the Woreda triggered a lot of natural resource management activities by the time. There have been more than 12,000 ha of land owned by the state farms. As a result, drainage systems and terraces were constructed. Most of drainage systems and terraces in the state farms are still intact in the lowland parts of the Woreda. According to experts from the office of agriculture most of the NRM structures have been destroyed in the midlands and need to be re-established. In addition to the above NRM activities, terracing and other NRM activities were initiated a few years ago using the food for work program but it failed as there was no work done regarding raising the awareness of farmers.
The level of awareness about soil and water conservation is higher among the lowlanders than those in the midlands. Some of the reasons could be that employees who used to work as labourers in the farms settled in the lowland area after the state farms were dismantled and have a better understanding of the soil and water conservation practices. Secondly, the Harar re-settlers also introduced some soil conservation practices like leaving maize and sorghum stalks on the field to avoid soil erosion during the dry season.
Currently, efforts are being made by the office of agriculture in terms of natural resource management activities, particularly in raising awareness of farmers about soil and water conservation practices. DAs are training farmers on natural resource management activities, especially soil and water conservation at Farmers’ Training Centers (FTCs). The Woreda is well endowed with natural resources. Except in a few parts of the midlands with water shortage during the dry season, generally there is abundant water in the Woreda. Hence, according to experts, water availability is not an issue rather efficient utilization of the already available water. For instance, water harvesting has never been an issue to engage with. There are about 31 rivers in the Woreda all draining into the Didessa River. Among the 31, 7 rivers have a potential to irrigate 2106 hectares of land. Based on a study done by the Woreda office of Agriculture, one river could irrigate 200 to 300 hectares of land. Both traditional and modern (pump) irrigation is being encouraged by the office. So far around 300 ha are irrigated traditionally, 21 diesel water pumps are distributed to farmers, and efforts are also being made to organize farmers under irrigation cooperatives. During the cropping season the coverage for traditional irrigation has grown to 1769 hectares. Along with the introduction of diesel pumps, accessibility of spare parts and maintenance services is an emerging challenge for the farmers who took the pumps.
Institutional Landscaping: Stakeholders and their roles
One of the main purposes of this trip was to identify a list of stakeholders in the Woreda who are working in the areas of natural resource management particularly, rainwater management, livestock and crop production; and hence characterizing the existing stakeholder interaction, challenges and opportunities for an innovation platform.
The following actors and their roles were identified in Diga Woreda.
I. Government line Departments
1. Woreda Office of Administration: - the office plays vital role in terms of facilitating the overall administrative structures existing in the Woreda towards the current development agenda of the government.
2. Woreda Office of Agriculture and Rural Development: - with its several departments, it provide extension services to farmers on improved crop and livestock production as well as natural resource management. By default, it is a focal office for facilitating innovation platforms.
3. Bako Agricultural Research Center (BARC):- have been actively engaged in demonstration, scaling up and adaptation of improved agricultural technologies (maize, teff, millet, potato, etc) in the Woreda. The center is also conducting trials on treating soil acidity and conservation activities in some Kebeles of the Woreda.
4. Cooperative Promotion Office: - working in parallel with the office of agriculture, it identifies potential commodities/sectors for which a cooperative is feasible (in terms of income generation and market). Based on the feasibility it promotes and helps farmers establish cooperatives.
5. Oromia Seed Enterprise: - is partner with farmers in such a way that it signs agreement with farmers to produce certified maize seed. Then the enterprise purchases the seed from farmers to further distribute it to other areas.
6. Oromia Water Works Construction: - involves in the supply of diesel pumps to farmers through Woreda office of agriculture on credit basis.
7. Oromia Bureau of Agriculture: - following the regional government’s chain of command, involved in the supply of medicaments for livestock.
II. Private Enterprises/Associations
7. Gibe Didessa Farmers union and Woreda level primary cooperatives: - actively involved in the input supply (mainly fertilizer and seeds) and marketing of products.
8. Oromia Saving and Credit Association: - Provide credit services on relatively lower interest rates for farmers. Farmers and small enterprises are the main targets/clients of the association.
9. Wholesalers and Traders: - involve in the purchase and marketing of livestock and crops, especially in the big market of Arjo-gudatu town.
10. Brokers: -According to Woreda office of agriculture experts they play crucial role in livestock value chains.
11. Farmers: - play crucial role in testing improved technologies, sharing indigenous knowledge and experiences, providing feedback and facilitating farmer to farmer learning platform.
III. Non-Governmental Organizations
According to the experts, there are no NGOs operating in the Woreda in relation to livestock and crop production as well as natural resource management. The absence of strong NGO who can champion innovation can be a problem for stakeholder platform facilitation in future.


Annex: Interview checklist
I. Historical interventions
1. Introduction
- Objective: Provide a clear picture of who we are, what is our purpose in being here, what we would like to do and how long it will take.
- Introduce both visitors and farmers; explain the purpose and the process of meeting including any potential long term or short term benefits for the participants; give an estimate how long it will take to complete the meeting.
2. What are the major land use type and their size in ha?
3. What are the major cropping patterns? (to have a clue about farmers land husbandry)
4. What are the major crop agronomic practices and their role to manage water and soil?
5. Have there been any previous NRM interventions implemented in the Woreda? If yes, what kinds of NRM interventions? When were they implemented? Were they successful? If not, why?
6. Who initiated those interventions? (e.g. Govt Development Programmes NGOs,)
7. What soil and Water management techniques being used (modern or indigenous) and their respective advantage vs. disadvantage?
8. Any rainwater management intervention currently under implementation in the Woreda?
9. How do they plan interventions and decide where to undertake rainwater management activities?
10. Do they work to any plan or strategy for agricultural water management or NRM?
11. Have you received any on-job training on “Rainwater Management” strategies? If not, probe for understanding of soil and water management and ask for specific training. Try to have access to training materials they used.
Additional questions for Teachers at DA training centers:
  1. What do they understand by “Rainwater Management”?
  2. What kind of training material do they use?
  3. If not, probe for understanding of soil and water management and ask for specific training.
  4. Could we have access to training materials they used?
II. Feed assessment tool: Participatory Diagnosis

  1. General description of farming and livestock system
- Objective: Obtain a general picture of the farming and livestock system so we can ask more detailed questions during the meeting. Make sure we understand the answers and ask for clarification if something is not clear.Be sure to remind participants to include landless farmers when determining averages
- Ask farmer to explain the crops grown and livestock raised in their area. There is no need to go into details, just a general picture of the farming and livestock system including range of farm sizes, household sizes, farm labour availability, annual rainfall pattern, irrigation availability, crops grown and cropping patterns and type and types of animals raised by households.

  1. Identify major income sources
- Objective: How important is livestock to the livelihood of farmers?
- Ask farmers to (1) list the main crops grown and other sources of income of farmers in the area, and (2) provide an estimate of importance of each income source (%).
- Make sure farmers include off-farm income and remittances.
- If it is difficult for farmers to provide percentages, ask them to rank the income sources from most important to least important and then ask how much the first, second and third income sources contribute to total income.
- Income sources can vary a lot among households so it can be difficult to provide this answer. The main point for us is to understand how much livestock contributes to total income. Farmers will only be interested to invest time and effort into working on improving feeding systems if livestock are reasonably important to their livelihood or if improving feed availability will significantly increase the importance of livestock.

  1. General description of the livestock production system in the area
- Objective: Understand the main purpose of livestock in the farming system, and explore how farmers feed and manage livestock.
- Ask farmers about:
- the types of animals raised (% of households raising these animals and average herd/flock sizes)
- the purpose of raising these animals (e.g. draught, income, fattening, calf production)
- the general animal husbandry

  1. What are problems, issues, opportunities within the livestock system? Problem tree.
- Objective: Find out if feed is likely to be a major factor limiting animal production and if this is recognized by farmers.
- Ask the farmers to list major problems / issues
- Prioritize (rank)

  1. Major feed sources throughout the year
- Objective: Understand the main feed resources fed to animals.
- Ask the farmers to list the main feeds fed to animals
- Identify the source of feed (on-farm vs. purchased)
- List the approximate areas grown of the various sources, yields and/or prices for different feeds, if traded
- Put this information into a table

  1. Discuss potential fodder interventions with the farmers.

III. Checklist for institutional landscaping at NB2 sites

1. Identify key commodities/NRM issues based on their importance for food security, income diversification or traditional export. Once we identify the enterprises, we will conduct desk research on the background/historical development of the enterprises.
2. Identify existence and nature of innovations and associated processes of significance to the important enterprises or NRM. There can be 4 kinds of innovations depending on the context:
· Innovation driven by Market Entrepreneurship
Motive: profit
· Innovation driven by Environmental Entrepreneurship
Motive: environmental change
· Innovation driven by Social Entrepreneurship
Motive: social change
· Hybrid innovation
Motive: profit and other motives ( I combination of profit, environmental and social objectives)
3. Identifying all the relevant actors who are involved along the value chain of the specific commodity and roles played by actors; also understand incentives??

Some of the key actors in agricultural innovation systems may include:
· Farms – small, medium and large;
· Firms that provide inputs and services (such as seed or feed, agro-chemicals, machinery / equipment, transport, credit, insurance);
· Agro-processing enterprises (small, medium or large);
· Intermediaries that bring producers into contact with markets;
· Wholesalers, retailers, super-markets, commodity boards;
· Organizations, both government and non-government, that provide information and services - extension and training services; plant and animal health services;
· Universities and other institutions of higher learning;
· Research and development organizations (national, regional, international whether public, quasi governmental, private);
· Organizations that provide information and services - extension and training services; plant and animal health services;
· Universities and other institutions of higher learning;
· Farmers associations, cooperatives or other non-governmental organizations (public, private, quasi-governmental) that facilitate networking;
· Institutes, firms or government offices that provide business services such as feasibility studies and business plans and help in the development of marketing strategy
· Informal institutions embedded and guided by social norms serving specific or multidimensional roles in different contexts (Idir, ekub, Derba, etc.)

IV. Existing networks
Ask stakeholders to list any existing networks and platforms they are (or have been) a member of. When was it formed? What was/is its function? Ask them to score on effectiveness?

Table 1: List of persons contacted from Woreda offices at Jeldu
No

Position
Duty/role
1
Ato Bandira Gelana
Jedlu Woreda Office of administration
Deputy and head of Woreda office of capacity building
2
Ato Tolosa Debela
Jeldu Woreda office of agriculture and rural development
Deputy head
3
Birhanu Dendesa

Land administration expert
4
Ato Chala Megersa

NRM Coordinator
5
Ato Taye Moti

NRM expert
6
Dr Dejene Bekele

Livestock agency coordinator
7
Teshome Gudeta
Jeldu Woreda office of water resource development
head of office

Table 2: List of Key informant farmers and DAs contacted at Jeldu
No
Name of Farmer
Kebele
1
Genet Bejiga (DA)
Chilanko
2
Worknesh Alemu (DA)
Chilanko
3
Negassa Diro
Chilanko
4
Dendena Feyissa
Chilanko
5
Kebede Hika
Chilanko
6
Feyera Gurmesa
Chilanko
7
Likasa Gobu
Chilanko
8
Guta Gudisa
Chilanko
9
Dejene Bedaso
Chilanko
10
Fikadu Guta
Chilanko
11
Birhanu Lechisa
Chilanko
Table 3: List of persons contacted at Fogera Woreda
No

Affiliation
Position
Tele
1
Ato Worku Mulat
Fogera OoARD
Fogera Woreda Head Office of agriculture and rural development

2
Yibeltal Mekuanint

Fogera Woreda agriculture and rural development – NRM expert

3
Nigussie Assefa

Fogera Woreda agriculture and rural development – Crop expert

4
Habte w/Silassie

Fogera Woreda agriculture and rural development – Livestock expert

5
Abaynesh Kassew

Fogera Woreda agriculture and rural development – cooperative promotion expert

6
Hana Tadesse

Fogera Woreda agriculture and rural development – Dairy products expert

7
Kebebe Asfaw
Fogera Woreda Office of administration
Deputy head

8
Fente Bishaw
Wereta Agricultural Technical and Vocational Educational training College
Academic vice dean


Table 4: List of Key informant farmers involved at Fogera Woreda
No
Name of Farmer
Kebele
1
Alemu Muchie
Kuhar Mikael
2
Aytama Berihun
Kuhar Mikael
3
Ayalew Mengistu
Kuhar Mikael
4
Bahiru Andargie
Kuhar Mikael
5
Matebie Andargie
Kuhar Mikael
6
Asres Alamir
Kuhar Mikael
7
Kegngeta Gasfetene
Kuhar Mikael
8
Addis Belay
Kuhar Mikael
9
Wudie Muchie
Kuhar Mikael
10
Gedefaw Mekuanint
Kuhar Mikael

Table 5: List of persons contacted at Diga Woreda
No
Name
Position
Duty/Role
1
Ato Israel Getachew
Diga Woreda agriculture and rural development
Head of office
2
Ato Shibru Gurmesa

NRM coordinator
3
Ato Alemayehu Wolde

Irrigation expert
4
Ato Bayissa Muleta

Veterinary expert
5
Ato Alemu Biratu

deputy of office and extension coordinator
6
Ato Desalegn Sori

Planning and evaluation expert
7
Ato Waktola knati

land use coordinator
8
Ato Eba Lemu

input supply and credit coordinator
9
Ato Geremew Amentie

seed multiplication expert and coffee agronomist
10
Ato Deressa Lemessa

cooperative promotion coordinator
11
Ato Getachew Inkosa

Livestock and fishery resource extension coordinator
12
Ato Worku Adugna
Diga Woreda of water resources development
head of Office
13
Ato Biratu Emana
Diga Woreda Office of Administration
Head of office
14
Ato Temesgen Fita
East Wellega zone office of agriculture and rural development
Deputy head of office

Table 6: List of Key informant farmers contacted at Diga Woreda
No
Name of Farmer
Kebele
1
Temesgen Kebede
Jirata
2
Alemayehu Gudeta
Jirata
3
Erisa Bora
Jirata
4
Bekele Benti
Jirata
5
Tesfaye Beyene
Jirata
6
Bayissa Kitila
Jirata
7
Tamiru Tolossa
Jirata