By: Tilaye T. Wold
REFOOTURE took part in the half day organic fertilizer task force meeting held on Dec 28, 2023 at Panaroma hotel in Addis Ababa organized by the MoA. The Task force is composed of stakeholders from MoA, GIZ, EIAR, REFOOTURE, SNV, PELUM Ethiopia, Palladium Ethiopia, Agri-service Ethiopia and private organic fertilizer producing companies. It was established following the direction of H.E. State Minister of Agriculture Prof. Eyasu Elias. It aimed at documenting evidences for Integrated Soil fertility Management (ISFM) for sustainable food system in Ethiopia.
REFOOTURE presented its empirical evidences from joint research projects undertaken in collaboration with the National Agricultural Research System members with the aim of generating evidences for regenerative food systems in Ethiopia. The evidences were based on extensive data from the joint on-farm farmer participatory research on combined use of organic and inorganic fertilizers for improved satiability, soil health, productivity, better soil holding capacity and resilience to the vagaries of climate change as well as reduced costs and improved profits under smallholder conditions with the typical one quarter of a hectare (One-tilmad) as a basic decision making unit. REFOOTURE also presented its evidence on effect of composting method (heap method vs pit method) under different agro-ecological conditions on basic soil physico-chemical properties. REFOOTURE also a highlighted the need for a customized extension system for ISFM, a regulatory mechanism for the emerging organic fertilizer market in Ethiopia as well as the growing demand for divisible inputs and small pack for organic and inorganic fertilizers among smallholders and people engaged in urban agriculture
Other task force members also presented their own similar evidences and discussion was held on how to integrate these evidences into a national extension system. Finally the workshop was closed with the resolution of giving the task of drafting the detailed roles, responsibilities and working modalities of the task force for future documentation of further evidences. It was also agreed that each member of the task force need to contribute to the evidence documentation through preparation and publication of brief guidelines on the various aspects of ISFM on which there are own empirical evidences.