Pictures

Summer wheat Mr. Belay
Summer wheat has almost completed ripening phase, and is just prior to the harvest in the second half of November 2012. The wheat production on this very site of FTC (Farmer Training Center) at Holeta is part of government’s limestone project. In the coming three years a total of 38 t limestone per hectare will be applied. A half hectare -not in use yet- will be used for trials of basalt meal from March 2013 onwards. Mr. Belay of Oromia Special Zone Department (foreground) and Director of the Agricultural Department of Holeta Regional Office (background) explaining the trials conducted of the FTC (Farmer Training Center) of Holeta. Mr. Belay is active in Oromia Special Zone conducting research on local opportunities to improve soils water and nutrient holding capacity. Part of this is the large composting program, in which each household is provided the skills to produce 26 m3 of compost each year. The trials on Holeta FTC and neighbouring Solulta FTC aim to strengthen the composting program on Oromia Special zone, as well as develop rock dust fertilizer.

 

When Marginpar BV purchased some land2 Ethiopian farm manager
When Marginpar B.V. purchased some land of local smallholder farmers in 2008 the soil was completely exhausted, as local farmers did not use any chemical or organic fertilizer over the last decades. Last five years were therefore dedicated to improve soil fertility, as to establish a good basis for the flower, thissel and hypericum production. Doing so, Marginpar succeeded to improve 30 hectare in 2012. From spring 2013 onwards Marginpar will take the last six hectare in production. Again, its soil quality is expected to poor. The soil samples taken are analyzed at the moment. In the rock dust project it will be analyzed which role can be played by using rock fines of basalt quarries around Addis Ababa and improved composting processes. Ethiopian farm manager of Marginpar B.V. explaining the thissel nursery production bags. Providing employment to the local residents of Holeta zone, is one of the key roles played by Marginpar. Their 38 hectare production site to growth thissels, hypericum and hortensia generate an average continues amount of 300 to 600 labour places during the season.

 

Multiplication of thissel plant Farmers of Lephi
Multiplication of thissel plant using white bags. In the white long bags root development is promoted. From the roots of each plant, 30 individual plants can be raised again. Farmers of Lephi, and the village headman, are taking rock samples of the large rock formation occurring around their village. According to the laboratory analyses the rock is composed of zeolites. ANCEDA will start training of the farmers in this area by using zeolite for water moisture conservation and increasing fertilizer use efficiency. In this year MetaMeta will train the farmers how to test the efficiency of zeolite, using as soil improver, for the soils and agricultural production systems in place.

 

Farmers of Lephi-22 Mr. Ato Dekebo Dale2
Farmers of Lephi, and the village headman, are taking rock samples of the large rock formation occurring around their village. According to the laboratory analyses the rock is composed of zeolites. ANCEDA will start training of the farmers in this area by using zeolite for water moisture conservation and increasing fertilizer use efficiency. In this year MetaMeta will train the farmers how to test the efficiency of zeolite, using as soil improver, for the soils and agricultural production systems in place. Mr. Ato Dekebo Dale (using the hammer),  director of ANCEDA, and a young farmer of Holeta Abyatta Shalla National Park taking soil samples. November 2012.

 

A corral as designed by farmers Farmers in Lake Abyatta Shalla National Park
A corral as designed by farmers in Abyatta Shalla National Park, using residues of prickly bushes. Flocks of oxes and goats are kept within these fences during nights. Manure is used to be spread on the land to increase fertility. Farmers in Lake Abyatta Shalla National Park are particularly involved in production of corn.  Despite a chemical fertilizer use of 150 kg DAP and urea per hectare yields remain low with average yields not exceeding 3 ton per hectare.  Ato Dekebo Dale and a local farmer are taking soil samples – to analyze whether yield constraints are related to soil quality.

 

During the field visit Weathered serpentine stones
During the field visit to Danse, Arsi Zone, it appeared local residents of Danse already developed a local quarry site for zeolite. Also laboratory analysis of UtrechtUniversity showed mineral being zeolite, specifically being of the species clinoptiolite and mordenite. Weathered serpentine stones at road quarry site near Yubdo.

 

Market day in Alem Katema Deforestation in Rema valley
Market day in Alem Katema: On the field trip to Rema we first crossed Alem Katema village. The picture of this busy street was taken around lunch time during the always busy market day on Saturdays. People from all neighbouring villages come to the market to exchange goods and livestock. In Alem Katema area the economy is based on mutual services and exhange, rather than cash transfers Deforestation in Rema valley is high, as trees and bushes are used as firewood for cook stoves. The electricity grit has not yet reached this area, although developments to extent the electricity net are underway. As showed on the picture, only a very low density of eucalyptus trees is found in the area. Shadow, and cooler, places for livestock and crops are limited, and evapotranspiration therefore high.

 

The mountain of Rema village The very fine nature of teff
The mountain of Rema village in the background, where Rema village is located on the top at the right part of the mountain. The foreground presents the area in which Getaw Mekonnen Mixed Farm is located. The very fine nature of teff grains showed on a hand palm. This fine gluten-free grain is Ethiopia’s most dominant and famous staple crops. This little sour tasting pancake is served for lunch and dinner time, with different spices, relish and meat.

 

A 3 hectare peanut demonstration plot2 Several road quarry sites
A three hectare peanut demonstration plot (the right part of the picture) is part of the Getaw Mekonnen Mixed Farm. Production is doing well, and will provide a protein source in the diet of the people in Rema. Several road quarry sites of serpentine and olivine rich minerals exist along the Gimbi-Yubdo road section. These Magnesium rich minerals have capability to raise soil pH in surrounding areas, as acidity is around 4.5 pH limiting crop production. In the project, the efficiency of the serpentine and olivine rich minerals will be tested as liming material. Doing so, it will assist the Ethiopian government in its limestone project, to test rock suitability to increase soil pH in the Western regions.

 

Invasive water hyacinth growth Ethiopia's road intensity is low
Invasive water hyacinth growth is threatening biodiversity of Lake Koka, as well as livelihood activities of surrounding fishermen communities. In the project a group of 30 fishermen will start to harvest this water hyacinth. Then the communities will be taught using the plant for biogas production, slow release fertilizer – struvite – and drying water hyacinth for the strong fibres and production of local artefacts, such as chairs and tables. Ethiopia’s road intensity is low, even for SSA standards, averaging 23 km per 1000 km2 against 50 km per 1000 square km for SSA, but road construction has accelerated. In 2012 total road building through federal and regional programmes – was planned at 5000 kilometer – both metalled roads and feeder roads. Also the road from Nekemte to Gimbi (the picture above) and the stretch from Gimbi to Yubdo is part of the road programme.

 

A farmer of Rema village2 Soil samples are taken2
A farmer of Rema village carrying dried ox skins: The dried and stiffened skins are designed for optimal use to separate the shields from the grains. At the top of the skin a wooden hand grip is attached for easy handling. By waving the skin up and down, a vast wind is produced, and the lighter blown apart. It is a very precise process, as also the teff grains are very light in nature. Soil samples are taken on a piece of a clay rich dry soil on Getaw Mekonnen Mixed Farm. The soil is very rich in sand and limestone rock species, as the soil is formed at weathered sand- and limestone rock formations.

 

A serpentine-olivine rich hill
A serpentine-olivine rich hill in vicinity of Yubdo. The hill is ‘occupied’ by a Chinese camp of road constructers, who are mining the hill for quarry. The area of Yubdo and Gimbi was paid a three-day visit November 2012 to assess the availability of olivine rock dust.