Smallholder-based fruit seedling supply system for sustainable fruit production in Ethiopia: lessons from the IPMS experience
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Berhe, K.; Dessalegn, Y.; Baredo, Y.; Teka, W.; Hoekstra, D.; Tegegne, A. 2009. Smallholder-based fruit seedling supply system for sustainable fruit production in Ethiopia: lessons from the IPMS experience. IN: Practical Action Conference, Nairobi, Kenya, September 21-25, 2009. Nairobi (Kenya): Practical Action East Africa.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/731
Ethiopia has a diverse agroecology and many areas are suitable for growing temperate, subtropical or tropical fruits. Substantial areas receive sufficient rainfall and many lakes, rivers and streams could also be used to support fruit production. Despite this potential, the total land area under fruits is very small and mainly smallholder-based. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD), the area under fruits is about 43,500 ha with a total annual production of about 261,000 metric tonnes of which less than 2% is exported. Many supply and demand reasons are associated with the poor performance of the sub-sector including technical, organisational and institutional factors. The lack of sufficient supply of planting materials of improved fruit varieties/cultivars and accompanying knowledge were identified as key constraints during a participatory rural appraisal (PRA) study conducted by the IPMS project in 2005. This is because the source of planting materials for tropical, sub-tropical improved and temperate fruits are limited to a few mostly government operated sites, which are located far away from potential planting places. To alleviate this problem, IPMS in collaboration with district Offices of Agriculture and Rural Development (OoARD) initiated smallholder farmer-based improved fruit seedling supply system in many of its project districts. This initially required the establishment of improved mother trees and farmer capacity building on nursery and fruit tree management, among others. The objective of this paper is, to share the IPMS experiences in the establishment of sustainable farmer-based improved fruit seedling supply system which contributed to the improvement of livelihoods of many farmers. Nursery operators earned between 100 and 11,000 USD equivalent from sale of seedlings/suckers or fruits in a season. The lessons learnt indicate that farmer-based fruit nurseries a) can be established by linking the right public and private sector actors for knowledge, skills development and input supply b) are cost effective compared to the current suppliers, in most cases c) convinced all actors that farmers can handle the seemingly difficult grafting/budding techniques d) created employment opportunities for the landless youth, individual male and female farmers, e) generates a significant income for nursery operators, f) reduce transport cost of the seedlings significantly. This paper also uses a spatial analysis tool, DIVA-GIS software, to analyse likelihood of adaptability of four fruit species to a wider area within the study districts and the likely production potential and value.