By Irene Ebrahimi Darsinouei
The spices interventions in Ethiopia are gaining ground. After a study tour through India and the start of a ginger pilot project on demonstrator farms, preparations are underway to upscale the activities next year.
What most urgently needs doing, is increasing the volume of production of ginger and turmeric, and improving post-harvest quality at farm and processor levels. Stakeholders expressed a need for training in order to address these challenges, during a consultation workshop that was conducted in September 2015.
This sounds straightforward enough, but who exactly should be trained, how should they be trained, what should the content be and what should the trainee be equipped to do as a result?
Welcome to the Training Needs Assessment workshop
To address the question of what is needed, who better than the future trainees themselves? Over the course 1,5 days, a wide representation of Ethiopian spices stakeholders, including representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, farmers, processors, extension workers, academics and private companies, gathered in Addis Ababa to share their inputs.
The interactive workshop had participants work together in groups to identify the who, what, how and when of the training package. “Participant’s contributions are the key for success of this workshop”, Mr. Million Bogale, Chairperson of the Board of the Ethiopian Spice, Aromatic and Herbs Products Grower Association (ESAHGPA) said. “We came here to listen”, Ms. Florence Béraud, the learning specialist who facilitated the training added.
The training conducted in India in January 2016 was the first step of the training process. Those who participated in the Indian training, were also a part of the Training Needs Assessment Workshop and will be part of the implementation of the training, in order to adopt an integrated approach within the project.
The who, participants agreed, consists of four target audiences: producers, extension workers, traders and processors. Participants discussed the specific needs of these target audiences in small groups. The training content defined during the workshop, includes not only specific good agricultural and post-harvest practices, but also skills that need to be acquired in order to provide training, report on the progress and the ability to access relevant market information.
Participants agreed on a timeline for the next steps: development of the training strategy and packages, validation by all stakeholders, and implementation of the packages through the training of master trainers.
“The content was good, one of the best we’ve had, both on ginger and turmeric. There was a special emphasis on ginger, because ginger is the item which needs more attention and should be a priority moving forward”, Mr. Abdalla Yahya, owner of the spices company YSO Plc said of the training.
Ginger requires special emphasis because Ethiopia’s ginger productivity has fallen dramatically since 2011, due to the outbreak of bacterial wilt disease. The disease is estimated to have destroyed 80% of the crop. To discuss the disease, and identify the revitalization efforts that are needed in order to address it, a National Workshop on Revitalizing Ginger Production in Ethiopia was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, together with ITC, following the Training Needs Assessment Workshop.
During the National Workshop, experts discussed the spread of the disease in Ethiopia’s major ginger-producing regions, and presented the current status of research on the impact of bacterial wilt mitigation measures. ITC Spices Expert, Dr. George, contributed to the discussions by presenting the disease control measures that are used in India, which were also a major component of the training conducted in India earlier this year.
Participants in the National Workshop agreed on a way forward to revitalize Ethiopia’s ginger production. In the coming two and half years, four key issues will be addressed: research and technology will be developed in order to revitalize the ginger production; a package will be developed for agricultural extension workers, with the support of SITA (through the Training Needs Assessment Workshop); an input-supply system will be developed, for the country to obtain clean ginger seed; and the National Ginger Task Force will be re-established to oversee the efforts. “We’ve had different meetings on ginger, but this last one was very important. We’ve worked on a plan, a budget and will monitor and evaluate the progress. In the next two and a half years, we plan to achieve some progress with revitalizing the ginger production”, Mr. Haimanot Mitiku, Director of the Tepi Spices Research Centre said.