The first phase of the ACC Initiative in the SNNP region includes six clusters with five primary and four secondary commodities prioritized for GTP II. In 2016, however, only four commodities, bread wheat, tef, apiculture, and haricot bean, have been initiated. A number of activities are underway in these clusters with the goal of increasing production and productivity, as well as creating market linkages for the end products. Major initiatives implemented in the clusters include ensuring timely and quality input delivery, awareness creation through full package scale-up, as well as establishment of VCAs, market linkages, and contract farming.
The SNNP Regional Transformation Council, chaired by the Regional President, has been established, with members emphasizing in their review of ACC efforts the need to strengthen coordination and integration among various stakeholders – the regional BoANR, the ATA, and regional actors. This will involve capacity building and increasing awareness of cluster-based initiatives and highlighting their integration with other Transformation Agenda Deliverables, like the shallow ground water mapping project and the work to improve the region’s soil health and fertility.
Wheat and haricot bean VCA platforms have also actively clarified the roles and responsibilities of each participating actor. The groups have jointly developed a viable contract farming modality and informed farmers of the level of quality required by buyers and processors. The alliances are now executing more strongly on real-time problem-solving and escalating issues to regional and federal levels as required.
The bread wheat cluster in the SNNP region encompasses Silte, Hadiya, Kembata Tembaro, and Gurage zones. It includes 18 high-potential woredas, covering 110,332 hectares and reaching 249,559 farmers. Wheat cultivation represents a considerable amount of activity in this area – 16% of the total land in the cluster is cultivated with bread wheat, and 8% of the country’s production of the crop comes from here. Unlike many parts of the country where there is little surplus crop for sale, 54% of the wheat produced from this cluster is marketed and 46% is consumed at home.
This cluster aims to generate annual revenues of 108 million USD by 2020 through domestic sales of bread wheat grain, biscuits and crackers, flour, bread, and feed, as well as substituting imports of bread wheat products worth 23 million USD. Within the cluster, 90% of product processing will take place, with the remaining 10% being handled through contractual agreements with processors in Hawassa. Achieving this vision requires equally ambitious targets of increasing usage of improved inputs by 138%, reducing post-harvest losses by 47%, and increasing the marketed amount by 57%, among others.
Consideration has been given to the obstacles currently standing in the way of further growth for this cluster. Ineffective lending mechanisms limit input finance access for smallholders, in particular female farmers. Low levels of participation of the private sector in mechanization pose problems for wheat production and post-harvest processing. Additionally, inadequate storage facilities and lack of skilled cooperative personnel hamper the marketing capacity of cooperatives; 80% of wheat marketed in this area is through traders.
Hence, interventions have been initiated to invest in improving the storage capacity of cooperatives and train their personnel; expand smallholders’ use of input vouchers for credit; and make credit available to mechanization service providers that include cooperatives and private entrepreneurs.
The cluster comprising Sidama, Gamo Gofa, Wolaita, and Halaba zones focuses on haricot bean. It engages 16 woredas and 292,467 farmers with the aim to cultivate 99,991 hectares of land. With 23% of the national production of red haricot bean coming from this cluster, it is one of the most important areas for the pulse crop, which is the third highest earner for the area after wheat and maize.
The goal of this cluster is to generate annual revenues of 33 million USD by 2020. Domestic sales of raw and cleaned haricot bean will account for 22 million USD, while export of haricot bean to the Middle East, North Africa, and Southern Europe will bring in an additional 11 million USD. All of the product processing will take place within the cluster.
Annual targets set toward achieving this vision include (but are not limited to) increasing farmers’ use of improved inputs by 150% and revenue by 93%, as well as establishing agro-processing facilities than can grow the number of non-farming jobs by an astounding 2000%.
Although haricot bean is a top earner of foreign exchange for Ethiopia, exports of the crop are dominated by illegal trading, which can account for up to 70% of production that leaves the country. Implementing stronger control mechanisms to reduce the rate of illegal trade is a priority for the cluster, as is simultaneously establishing a comprehensive Market Information System that can mitigate illegal cross-border trade as well as eliminate market chain inefficiencies and price volatility.
The Commercial Farm Services project and DSM modality are also being leveraged to provide quality agricultural inputs to farmers in an accessible manner, while other activities have been undertaken to improve farmers’ agronomic practices to enhance production and productivity.
Activities in the tef cluster of SNNP have not been initiated yet, but are planned for implementation in the Hadiya, Siltie, Gurage, and Kembata Tembaro zones. This area covers 692,870 hectares and is home to 307,586 smallholder farmers. Approximately 8% of the total land in the cluster is cultivated by tef, which is grown by 72% of the farmers in the area. Traders, and to a lesser degree cooperatives, market 40% of the tef grown while 60% is consumed in the household. Besides tef, the cluster also produces wheat, potatoes, and livestock products.
The vision for this cluster is to generate annual revenues of 18 million USD by 2020 through 17 million USD in domestic sales of tef grain, flour and injera, and 812,000 USD in export sales of tef grain to the United States and Western Europe, with 100% product processing within the cluster. Targets set for the cluster include – among others – increasing the usage of improved inputs by 321% and the marketed amount of tef by 70%, while the growth in activity overall is expected to lead to a 316% rise in non-farming related jobs in the area.
Strategic interventions planned toward this end are to expand tef processing and value addition by providing incentives and support to agri-businesses; revising the extension package to enable DAs to transfer better agronomic information to farmers; and ensuring the availability and increasing farmers’ awareness of credit to aid with the adoption of improved inputs.
The apiculture cluster has also not begun activities in 2016. Once initiated, the work will cover two million hectares of the Kafa, Sheka, and Bench Maji zones. The cluster is endowed with natural tropical rain forests, so forest beekeeping is widely practiced in the area. There are an estimated 148,000 beekeepers whose primary products are honey and beeswax. The other dominant agricultural activity in the cluster is the cultivation of tea, coffee, and spices.
The vision for the cluster is to generate revenues of 26 million USD by 2020 through domestic and export sales of honey, and export sales of industrial, mass, and premium table honey packaged in bulk. This figure represents a 109% increase in the current revenue stream. Additionally, a growth of 305% is targeted for the improved usage of hives (93% of which are currently traditional) and a growth of 40% in the average yield per hive.
Achieving these ambitious targets necessitates the coordinated implementation of strategic interventions including, but not limited to, incubating local groups to provide beekeeping inputs (hives, honey extractors, bee colonies, etc.); enhancing the execution of related policies on quality grading; and creating a cost sharing system among unions, cooperatives, and development partners to construct warehouses.
Full package scale-up has been carried out in four woredas, and farmers and experts alike have been capacitated on pertinent agronomic best practices.
The Regional Bureau of Trade has taken full ownership of leading market linkages and contract farming activities for the bread wheat cluster, in which producers are planning to provide 300,000 quintals of wheat to the market at the end of the 2016 planting season. In terms of haricot bean, producer unions and financial institutions have been linked to facilitate output finance. Through this arrangement, for example, Addis International Bank is providing 636,983 USD to the Damota Wolaita Cooperative Union.
For both clusters, VCA meetings were conducted, and guidelines were prepared and distributed to participants. These meetings assisted in clarifying the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders; design of viable contract farming arrangements; and awareness creation among experts and farmers on the quality of produce and varieties demanded on the market.
Inadequate provision of improved seed, lack of finance for output marketing, lack of awareness on contract farming and limited storage capacity of primary cooperatives and unions all presented challenges for the haricot bean cluster. The bread wheat cluster was similarly affected by the limited availability of inputs, in this case coupled with some resistance of farmers to utilize recommended inputs correctly. The absence of a common understanding on the recommended input package for bread wheat resulted in insufficient commitment in some areas.
Regarding full package scale-up, delayed supply and distribution of inputs (seed, fertilizer, and agro-chemicals) led to a delay in orienting the concerned bodies in the Gurage zone to activities underway. Additional obstacles arose in the form of insufficient field management and disease control during certain demonstrations, limited commitment and follow-up of DAs, and heavy rain in the Belg season (short March rains) causing floods on some demonstration sites.