Friday, February 17, 2017

Destocking in Atbsi : get mechanisation right

In the current reconnaissance trip to Atbsi, Ethiopia, we were thinking that we will be coming to a site with many sheep, but where we were looking we saw many cattle. We were puzzled about that fact that so many farmers kept cattle in a feed shortage area. Indeed for one cattle one could keep 7-8 sheep. So as usual we asked people about the role of cattle and sheep in this area.

Cattle and sheep grazing
We learned that most household are keeping one oxen for ploughing, and in order to always have an oxen, these household would also keep some female cow, which can also give milk.
So our discussion suddenly turned into a discourse about mechanization. If farmers could access a tractor, then they could be de-stocking, i.e. not keep the oxen but have sheep or dairy cows instead. We learned from one person working at REST (Relief Society of Tigray) that mechanization has been tried in the area but it did not work, for two reasons, one is that the spare parts are difficult to access but also the machinery was not suitable for the area. Big tractors would be too big, and a much more promising option would be two wheeler.
talking to the woreda representative
However when we talked to a representative of the district he has mentioned that mechanization is a great success in Felegewayne. Farmers got organized and managed to get 2 tractors as a cooperative and 4 others have been ordered. But we have not seen any...
landscape in Felegewayne
Our explanation was the landscape around Felegewayne must be flatter than in some other areas of Atbsi. An assumption that still needs to be confirmed.

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