Project status: Ongoing
1. Problem statement
Ca. 1% of children in Ethiopia suffer from vitamin-A deficiency and up to 6-8 million pre-school children are at risk, causing in extreme cases night-blindness, stunting, lethargy and raised levels of morbidity, which in turn exacerbate poverty and vulnerability. The widespread introduction of vitamin-A supplements to address this deficiency faces huge logistical barriers of reaching large numbers of people in remote areas, together with the requirement of large and continuous supplies of funding to achieve this. A possible alternative is therefore to encourage the cultivation of vitamin-A rich crops, such as the carrot, by the target population, the majority of whom are already engaged in small-scale mixed subsistence and cash-crop cultivation. The value of carrots as an important source of vitamin A is not well exploited in the country due to lack of awareness among the majority of the Ethiopian rural population.
This project will focus on introducing carrot cultivation to 200 farmers in Woreilu, Ambasel and Dehana districts in Ethiopia, with a view to a longer term program where the same farmers will eventually cultivate a new variety of carrot developed by Haramaya University that will allow the same farmers to produce seeds of these carrots.
This first phase of the project aims to educate 200 farmers on the optimal techniques to grow carrots, and to provide the necessary tools, materials and infrastructure to implement this, i.e.:
(a). Supply of carrot seeds: One of the constraints for carrot production in the target districts is the lack of carrot seeds. The seeds are so expensive that poor rural women cannot easily afford them from the available market. The project will therefore provide 300g of seeds of commercial Nantes carrots to each of the 200 selected farmers.
(b). Farm tools: Essential farm tools (spade, pick axe, rake, watering can) will be supplied to each of the 200 selected farmers.
(c). Construction of shallow wells: Vegetables including carrot cannot be produced without the availability of water. However, in many places moisture stress is one of the characteristics features of the target areas. Hence, there should be water harvesting structures to get enough water for the intended scheme. One way to fetch water for gardening is construction of shallow wells with low cost by using the local labor and materials. Therefor sample shallow wells will be constructed for selected model farmers.
(d). Organize training of farmers on vegetable production: Although farmers began to produce vegetables, they do not have deep knowledge on the prescribed agronomic practices and do have little knowledge on their preparations for food. Hence, the project will organize training for farmers on vegetable production, preparation of food and compost making. The organized training will encompass both theoretical and practical sessions.
From these 200 farmers the 60 farmers who show the greatest aptitude for growing carrots will be selected for the next phase of the project.
3. Boundaries, beyond which the investigation should not go
One calendar year.
Costs to be contained within the budget.
4. Specific issues to be addressed
Educate the 200 farmers on the optimal technique for growing carrots.
5. Desired outcomes/outputs
a. Cultivation of > 12 ha of land with carrots by 200 farmers with a harvest > 1200 quintal.
b. Transfer of know-how about vegetable crop production and management improved
c. Improved the culture and preparation of eating vegetables such as carrot among the target beneficiaries
Overview of farmer details – August 2015
Brief update on the implementation – September 2015
Cultivation project progress report – November 2015 by Megbaru Ayalew & Getachew Tabor