Cluster Farming Improving Farmers’ Productivity, Food Security in Arsi Zone

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Addis Ababa August 19/2019 The introduction of cluster farming in Arsi Zone, Oromia Regional State has helped farmers to increase harvest and boost food security.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahimed, Deputy President of Oromia Region, Shimelis Abdissa, Defense Minister Lemma Megersa and other senior government officials have paid a visit to the cluster farming plots in Arsi Zone on Sunday.

 Since recent years, cluster farming development programs have helped small-scale farmers to increase the productivity of wheat, barley and other type food of crops on the top of boosting food security.

Ethiopia’s labor intensive subsistence farming coupled with rain fed agricultural system remained unproductive for centuries, which needs to transform the archaic approach into modern one.

With the introduction of cluster farming development program, small-scale farmers in the various Woredas of Arsi Zone started to increase their crop productivity, which in turn helped them to build up food security.

The objective of the program is to extensively improve food security in the Zone, with the goal of increased agricultural productivity and value chain products.

Farmers of Iteya, Digalu, Tijo Kebeles and Munesa Woreda in Arsi Zone are maximizing full package of agricultural inputs to increase food crop production.

Fogalo Hiyesso, a farmer in Munessa Woreda, is engaged in wheat cluster farming in collaboration with other members witnessed the benefits of cluster farming.

“In the past, I used to harvest 25 quintals per hectare but now my production capacity has reached to 45-70 quintals per hectare,” he said.

“We get a lot of benefit from cluster farming. In this case, we plough three times with tractor and we have surplus outputs,” he added.

He called upon the government to provide modern agricultural inputs including improved seeds, fertilizers and pesticides based on the demand from the farmers.

Speaking with local farmers, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the visit was aimed at identifying the problems farmers face in their efforts to expand cluster farming in the Zone.

In this regard, the government is ready to support the farmers engaged in cluster by supplying necessity agricultural inputs, the Prime Minister affirmed.

 “As all of you know Arsi is well-known for its wheat and barley production. Previously farmers were harvesting on individual plots and now they have managed to develop their cluster farms. Therefore, we came here to witness the efforts made by the farmers and to provide support they might need from the government”.

He noted that the efforts so far made are interesting and urged them to move forward in increasing agricultural productivity through cluster farming.

After three years, the government of Ethiopia has planned to suspend importing wheat from abroad and the farmers should strive to realize this national aspiration, the Premier said.

Oromia Regional State Agriculture Bureau Head, Daba Debele, said the region is highly engaged in cluster farming to bring a measurable and sustainable improvement agricultural sector.

The demand for cluster farming has continued to increase as it shows significant results, however, he said there were limitation in terms of improved seeds and other agricultural inputs provision.

“This is unique compared to previous one. In the past, farmers harvest their crops in convectional way. In Oromia in general, the number of cluster farming was below 10 percent. Now, we are working to attain 27 percent which we think is a significant progress.”

Therefore, he said in the coming years the government will strive to scale up cluster farming and ensure adequate supply of modern agricultural inputs.