Mekelle University- AgriFoSe2030 supported Project have held Experience Sharing Visit at Adiha Village (Kolla Temben District) on August 25, 2019, to observed the practical Women Headed Household’s Vermi-composing and Vermi-culturing outputs.

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During the field visit, Dr. Kassa Teka, Project Leader and Researcher in the Department of Land Resource management and Environmental Protection, MU, after warmly welcomed the visitors, gives an explanation about the overall process and stages that the research project that is being done in partnership with AgriFoSe2030 in the area has gone through. Hence, Dr. Kassa said that Vermi-composting in the selected project sites has so far scored promising outcomes in agricultural productivity and has been effective in environmental sanitation.

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 Similarly, Dr. Alemtsehay, University Industry Linkage Director, on her part said that as part of community based intervention in the agricultural sector, such a practical engagement with the local farmers would have an immense value in increasing productivity and thereby changing the life of farmers.  Therefore, regardless of what it’s good to see optimism in implementation Vermi-composting in their agricultural product for it will increase their productivity and protect from enviromental disease.   According to the researchers, the vast area of Ethiopia is characterized by low soil fertility. It is also characterized by extremely low external inputs such a fertilizer. Women headed households are the most vulnerable to the consequences of the above challenges. Hence, a special focus is given to empower them.  And ‘This can be achieved through training and provision of new organic farming technologies such as vermi-compost’ said Dr. Kassa.

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It has been said that among the objectives of this research projects, Trainings for women headed households so as to empower them economically and socially, determining vermi-compost application rates for different soil types and crops under different agro-ecologies, and lastly scaling up the vermi-composting technology to the entire region so as to contribute for increased agricultural productivity.

The research project is being done in some selected woredas identified for project sites considering the geographical and climate factors. Hence, Ruba feleg Village in Atsbi Wemberta District  from highland, Tahtay Adikisandid in Mesanu, Aynalem, gemad, and Tsaedanaele in Kilte-Awulaelo district from midland, and Adiha Village in Kolla Tembien District from lowland are selected as project sites.

During the visit, some of active consumers of Vermi-composting have given their testimony about the use of the vermi-composting for their farmland. And they also showed to the visitors the visible difference of crop productivity and how it is effective in reducing disease incidence as compared to chemical fertilizer. The visitors also practically observe trees consumed vermi-composting increasing new shoot and flower emergence.

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To mention some of the achievements of the research project gained so far, more than 200,00 worms cultured at MU tree Nursery, Wukro St. Mary’s Colleg, Wukro Agricultural Poly-Technique College and T/Adijisandid FTC that would be taken as Initial Vermi-worms culturing, Vermi compost Production and Income gained out of which, the implementation of vermi-composting is find to be effective on crop productivity and it reduces disease incidence as compared to chemical fertilizer. It also increases new shoot and flower emergence. What is more,  four PG and UG students were attached to assess application rate (wheat, Maize, Letruce and Apple) and selected best worm feed, and finally Vermi-composting technology is scaled-up to other woredas and afar region in collaboration with Tigray Bost, AgriFoSe, Wukro St, Mary’s and PELUM Ethiopia.

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After the visit, discussion with the farmers and other stake holders has been held. Thus, constructive comments that would enhance more the productivity of the farmers, and some drawbacks in implementing and fellow ups of the research projects have been entertained. Therefore, delegates from MU especially from the College of Dry Land Agriculture and Natural Resources have forwarded their impression about the commitment and determination of the model women farmers. And they affirmed that the university, together with the Woreda officials and other partners, will continues to make this project effective and scaled up to other regions effectively.