Ethiopian farmers pleased but cautious




Ethiopian farmers increased yields of teff, sorghum and wheat on demonstration plots under FAO's Special Programme in the areas of Wolfa, Habru and Gonder Zuria.

Over 500 farmers working in mixed subsistence farming took part during the 1995 main cropping season. Reports indicate that average yields per hectare were up by over 100 percent in most cases, though in Habru attacks of shoot fly affected the teff crop.

Yield increases were due to the use of improved seed varieties, fertilizers, pesticide and improved cropping practices. Inputs were bought on credit and advice and training was also on hand. The scheme will also include irrigation demonstration and integrated pest management.

For farmers growing sorghum it was estimated that the extra costs of fertilizer and pesticide inputs notched up EthBirr 352 per hectare. Gains came to EthBirr 1120, though additional labour costs were not fully estimated. Wheat and teff crops yielded similar returns.

Many farmers interviewed said the technology is affordable. Here much will depend on open lines of credit and the continued availability of quality seeds and fertilizer on the market. This planting season, many farmers have continued with the new agricultural practices.




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