Promotion of Farmer Innovation and Expermentation in Ethiopia ( PROFIEET)

Promotion of Farmer Innovation and Expermentation in Ethiopia ( PROFIEET)

Promotion of Farmer Innovation and Experimentation in Ethiopia ( PROFIEET)

PID Training and Planning Workshop

Coffee-Growing Zone

12–15 April 2005


Compiled by Ahmed Ali, Jimma Agricultural Research Centre

May 2005

Opening Address

by Ato Berhanu Belay (Jimma University College of Agriculture, JUCA )

On behalf of the Jimma University College of Agriculture and on my behalf, it is indeed a great pleasure to participate on the opening ceremony of the Promotion of Farmer Innovation Workshop.

I believe this workshop will enable participants to evaluate innovation by farmers and its relevance to agricultural development and enable participants to understand what farmer researchers have in contributing for agricultural interventions. In the past, efforts have been made by various agricultural institutions in generating and transferring technologies to farmers. However, the impacts of these efforts remained much below expectations due to various reasons, most of all, lack of farmers' involvement in the research and technology transfer agenda. For long periods of time, farmers are playing a very important role in technology innovation. This was ignored by development practitioners. I would believe this workshop by ASE and other institutions is to enhance farmer innovators’ contribution to agricultural development

Without further taking your time, I would like to thank ASE and all participants for organising this Participatory Innovation Development workshop. Finally I declare this workshop officially opened and wish all the best in your deliberations.

1. Workshop Objectives and Schedule

by Ato Habtemariam Abate

The objectives of the PID training & planning workshops include:

  • To familiarise the participants with the objectives and goals of PROFIEET
  • To strengthen and polish the understanding of the regional actors concerning the formation of the regional platforms
  • To get participants more familiar with the specific project
  • To introduce the participants with the basic concepts, principles and methods of PID.
  • To design a few selected PID cases and make all possible arrangements to put the design into action.
  • To initiate a database through encouraging participants to present more cases of Farmer Innovation.

The workshop will have two parts, the training and planning sessions.

2. Introduction (with own examples of local innovation)

When the participants introduced themselves to each other, each participant told to the audience at least one innovation he/she knew in his/her local area.

1. Name: Habtemariam Abate

Address: Addis Ababa

Example of local innovation

In northern parts of Ethiopia, herding children were always faced problems with their parents due to a notorious small-ruminant-predator bird (eagle).A farmer who was creative in that area solved the problem by digging a hole, fixing a small ruminant at the top and hiding himself inside the hole. While the eagle was trying to take off the animal, the farmer was catching the leg of the bird and killing it by sword. After some consecutive killings, the locality became free of the bird and herders were no more quarrelling with their parents.

2. Name: Fikiremariam Geda

Address: Zone Western Shawa, District Methrob, Kebele Mukonaharo

Occupation: Third-year university student at JUCA

Example of local innovation

I saw a local metal-production system in my area, where raw materials obtained from local soil and I knew a man who was skilful in helping the sick like health centres do. The man was creative and cooperative in every aspect of community work.

3. Name: Taddesse Bekele

Address: Zone North Shawa

Occupation: Farmer

Example of local innovation

I am representing members of Tebo Woreda Farmers' Field School. I had seen a medicine to cure anthrax.

4. Name: Nasir Haji Abarago

Address: Zone Jimma, District Goma

Occupation: Farmer

Example of local innovation

I was faced by joint problem in my foot because of slippage. A women technician in my village treated me and I was relieved from my pain.

5. Name: Mohammed Biya

Address: Zone Jimma, District Goma

Occupation: Farmer

Example of local innovation

My father's orange plantation was highly infested by disease. He studied the symptoms of the disease. A hole with a white powder was seen somewhere on the stem. He pulled out a worm from that hole and made the plant free from the disease.

6. Name: Dereje Geremew

Address: Zone Jimma

Occupation: Farmer

Example of local innovation

Farmers in my village construct a human-like model to protect their crop from wild animals.

7. Name: Yazid Nigussie

Address: Zone Jimma, District Mana

Occupation: Farmer

8. Name: Nuredin Kedir

Address: Zone North Shawa, District Berew Aletu

Occupation: ATVET (Agricultural Technical, Vocational and Educational Training) student

9. Name: Aberash Bekele

Address: Zone North Shawa

Occupation: Farmer

10. Name: Sheh Nasir Abagissa

Address: Zone Jimma, District Gera, Kebele Dusta

Occupation: Farmer

Example of local innovation

I saw a 17-year-old student had constructed an airplane like movable object that was using a battery as electric source.

11. Name: Fekadu Zewde

Address: Zone Jimma, District Gera

Occupation: Development Agent

Example of local innovation

A farmer was using a diesel-power generator for electric source. Later on he changed it to a hydropower generator that has got media coverage. The new hydropower generator proves to be not only minimising costs but also works more efficiently.

12. Name: Mohammed Abajebel

Address: Zone Jimma, District Seka

Occupation: Farmer

13. Name: Gaworasha Mohammed

Address: Zone Kaffa

Occupation: Farmer

Example of local innovation

There was a farmer who was faced by an erosion problem in his cultivated field. By studying the nature of the river, he diverted it to another direction. He could also collect the eroded soil by the river and used it for fertilising his vegetable garden.

14. Name: Taddese Wolde Michael

Address: Zone Kaffa, District Decha

Occupation: Farmer

Example of local innovation

In my area farmers were using dogs instead of humans to catch the predator bird explained earlier. Also, farmers in my area used water to expose the mole from its hole and to kill it.

15. Name: Daniel Afework

Address: Zone Kaffa

Occupation: SOS-Sahel project officer

Example of local innovation

Monkeys and apes were notorious wild animals which destroyed field crops in my locality (Bifta Woreda). Killing monkeys and apes was prohibited for conservation reasons. Farmers were capturing the animals alive and released them after painting them different colours. When the monkeys and apes which were coloured were released by the local people, they rushed to their own relatives. However, their relatives ran away, fearing the painted animals, and both disappeared from the area, the former chasing and the latter chased by.

16. Name: Abraham Bantirgu

Address: Zone Jimma, District Jimma

Occupation: Instructor in JUCA

Example of local innovation

A wild animal "jart" was a problem for a farmer in my area. He solved the problem in such a way that he killed the jart, cooked its flesh and bone in water, then spread this to the crop field. After that, no jart emerged.

17. Name: Demekech Gera

Address: Zone Addis Ababa

Occupation: Agri-Service Ethiopia

Example of local innovation

In one area, collecting milk for yielding butter for sale per day by women separately was not profitable or was impossible. Local women solved the problem by organising themselves. Each woman collected her own milk and submitted it to one of the group members and that was done in turns, so that each woman had enough milk and yielding the required levels of butter for sale per day that became convenient and profitable.

18. Name: Amsalu Nebiyu

Address: Zone Jimma

Occupation: Lecturer in JUCA

Example of local innovation

Farmers were facing problems of termites in their potato fields. They solved the problem by applying animal urine and ash.

19. Name: Nigussie Iffa

Address: Zone Jimma, District Jimma

Occupation: Head Agricultural Extension Research Division in JARC

Example of local innovation

Pulses are prone to pests and difficult to store. Farmers protect against storage pests by chopping plant materials, mixing them with water and squeezing it. The haricot bean is smeared by it. Other farmers were keeping it inside teff.

20. Name: Ahmed Ali

Address: Zone Jimma, District Jimma

Occupation: Agricultural Extension Researcher in JARC

Example of local innovation

I had seen a farmer who selected a high-yielding and disease-resistant coffee variety from forest coffee and planted it in his homestead for multiplication purposes. The farmer had already proved its performance.

Background to Participatory Approaches (Modules 2, 3, 4 and 13)
by Habtemariam Abate


What is participation? Reflection from participants:

- When someone is cooperative in attending meetings

- When someone is cooperative in giving information

- When someone asks/takes some type of technology

- When someone contributes his money, labour…etc in development programme

What is research? Reflection from participants:

- When an individual/group makes trial/experiment

- It is a method to get new outcome

Definitions of participation: Development organisations inter-operate and use the term participation in different ways; ranging from passive participation, where people are involved merely by being told what is to be happening to self-mobilisation, where people take initiatives independently of external institutions.

Participatory Research

Historical background

In the 1950s/60s, farmers were considered to be passive recipients of technology:

- Hence we must teach/ transfer them right to farmers.

- Research______Extension ______Farmer

- One-way communication

- Top-down approach

- Extensionists were considered as channels/messengers


- Researchers did not know much about the situation of farmers

- Technology generated often not useful for farmers' conditions

- Farmers rejected recommended technologies

In the 1970s/80s, the basic assumption was: we must ease the constraints of farmers so that farmers would adopt technologies. Researchers argued the constraints to be:

- Lack of credit institutions

- Infrastructure

- Input supply

Strategy: establishing cooperatives; credit institutions; fertiliser and farm implement supply

End results:

- Resourceful rich farmers benefited

- The gap between the rich and poor become wider and wider

- The technology did not fit for resource-poor farmers

In the 1980s, development practitioners argued that we must understand the condition of farmers and search for technologies that fit for resource-poor farmers.

Strategy: Farming Systems Research (FSR), Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA)

- Multidisciplinary team of researchers to identify farmers’ constraints using participatory approaches

- Figure out solutions

- Extension conveys solutions

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, farmers could indicate what they needed and evaluate possible solutions.

Strategy: still FSR approach, Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) emerged

- Researchers figure out possible solutions

- Resource-poor farmers' participation in planning and evaluation of programmes

- Extension form an interface between researchers and farmers

- End result too extractive

In the late 1990s, farmers, researchers and extensionists needed to contribute their knowledge, skills and experiences jointly.

Strategy: Participatory Technology Development (PTD), Farmer Participatory Research (FPR), Participatory Innovation Development (PID) approaches

- Start from local innovative farmer/innovation

- Enrich them and promote farmer to extension

- Researchers and extensionists play facilitating role in the process.

Question: The concept of participation has a long history and it is raised everywhere by development agencies; however; there is a limited change in its application. Why?

Some participants reacted to this question by saying nowadays there are improvements in participation. Others said that the limited change is due to lack of commitment from development agencies and other stakeholders and their poor coordination/networking. They did not really create a conducive atmosphere to empower people to help themselves.

Facilitator: The term participation has different meanings for different people. This may be one of the reasons for its limited application. Basically there are seven ways that development organisations interpret and use the term participation (presented in table in training manual).

Farmer Innovation and PID Concepts (Module 8, 16, 19 and 29)

Facilitator: Demekech Gera

Local innovation

Refers to a new way of doing, approach, or methodology or modification of existing or inventing something new. Innovation has to be: Sustainable, Efficient, Productive, Effective


- Crop

- Animal

- Natural resource conservation

- Medicine

- Processing

- Planning

- Organising

- Networking

Who are innovators?

Rogers' innovators? Are not innovators?

Persons included in extension package are not innovators.

But innovators are those who make experiments and innovate by their own initiative.

Group discussion

Points for discussion

1. Who are innovators?

2. How do we identify innovators?

To discuss on these points, participants were divided into three groups.

Group 1 Presentation

Indicators of innovators:

- Profitability

- One who satisfies others’ needs

- One who uses local materials to do something new/modification

- One who saves time, money, labour

- One who contributes something new that can be applied by local farmers

- One who has something new culturally socially, economically acceptable

- Something from someone/group that is useful, provided that it conserves the environment.

Means of identifying innovators:

- By observing their living conditions

- Interviewing (DAs, farmers, key informants…etc)

Group 2 Presentation

Means of identifying innovators:

- Interviewing local community

- Observing plants, technologies which seem new to the local people

- Interviewing local development agents

- Participation and observation

- Farmers’ interest for new ideas and technologies

- By creating conducive environment so that innovators will be able to show their innovation (time, place…etc).

Group 3 Presentation

Indicators of innovators

- Better understanding ability

- The one who can share information

- Mobile farmers for watching new things to apply it locally

- Those who have something new socially acceptable, culturally sound, resource-based and economically sound (have additional value)

- Self-initiation

- Those who observe (work, new things)

- Transparent (to share his/her ideas and experiences)

- Increased production/productivity.

Discussion on the group presentations

Question: It may not be true Participatory Innovation Development.

Naming PID in local language (Oromipha):

Wanna Harawa (Innovation)

Wanna Harawa Humuu (Participatory) Innovation Development.

Two points for discussion

Participants divided into three groups to discuss the following points:

  1. How to collect information locally (means of local communication channel)
  2. Identify two types of innovations

A. Innovation for immediate extension to local community

B. Innovation that needs further research

After a thorough discussion, each group presented the following discussion outcomes.

Group 1 Presentation

Means of local communication channels

- By loud speaking to be heard by local people (use of flute etc)

- Debo

- Idir

- Religious places

- At the market

- Derma (woman’s cultural ceremony)

Innovation for immediate extension: When the innovation is proved to increase productivity/production; considered as easily understandable, seen as culturally acceptable.

Innovation for further research when the innovation is:

- Not complete

- Not free from problems

- Seeming to need some improvement

- Not able to gather satisfactory results

- Not take money, labour, time

- Not conducive to local knowledge and skills

- Not being done with local materials

Group 2 Presentation

Means of local communication channels:

- At social meeting

- At social institution

- Idir, Iqup, Debo

- At workplace

- Observing local changes while moving

- Asking local traders

- At market places

- Asking local development agents for key information

Group 3 Presentation

Means of local communication channels (means of local information exchange)

- At funeral ceremonies, wedding

- At Dedo, Iqnb, Mahber

- At coffee ceremonies

- At market, religious or recreational place

- Observation

Innovation for immediate extension: if the innovation is:

- Environmentally sound

- Culturally and socially acceptable

- Already checked and confirmed

- Easily applicable

- Resource-based and sustainable

- Able to be manufactured locally

Innovation for further research: If the innovation is:

- Assumed not environmentally sound

- Requires high labour, money, time

- Difficult to work, assumed not sustainable

- Difficult to manufacture with local materials.

Participatory Innovation Development (PID) – Wanna Harrawa Humuu

Steps in PID

Step 1. Introduction

- In the introduction part

- Background and justification

- Social and cultural analysis

- Agro-ecological study

- Identification of new innovations need to be clearly considered

Step 2. Identifying innovation for extension or research

Step 3. Planning

- Identification of the objectives

- Formulation of hypothesis

- Identification of monitoring and evaluation criteria

- Laying out the experimental design

- Listing the necessary resources and materials needed

Step 4. Implementation

- Following the procedures according to the plan

- Capacity building

- Monitoring the implementation process

Step 5. Analyses and evaluation

- Collecting the information

- Organising the data

- Organising situations for evaluation

- Participant evaluation

- Decision for accepting or rejecting the innovation

Step 6. Extension

- Developing farmer-to-farmer extension system

- Organising field days

- Using farmers as resource persons

- Interpreting the innovation and the development processes

Establishment of database system for PID

Facilitator: Adano Nebso (JUCA)


The conventional technology process whereby recommendations are taken from research institutions through advisory services or extension agencies and on to farmers has proved ineffective.

- Systematic alternative way of generating effective and adaptable technologies by end-users has to be developed.