Implementing an integrated cassava and sweet potato farming strategy in the post-genocide Tigray

Mekelle:  3 December 2023 (Tigray Herald)

Implementing an integrated cassava and sweet potato farming strategy in the post-genocide Tigray region, particularly focusing on drought-prone conditions, involves careful planning and execution. Here’s a comprehensive approach:

Assessment and Soil Preparation:

Conduct a thorough soil analysis to understand soil health and composition.
Prioritize areas with marginal soils suitable for cassava cultivation.
Implement soil conservation practices to minimize erosion and water runoff.
Crop Selection and Diversification:

Select cassava and sweet potato varieties that are well-adapted to drought conditions.
Diversify crop choices to enhance resilience against pests, diseases, and climate variability.
Water Management:

Invest in water harvesting techniques like rainwater collection systems.
Explore efficient irrigation methods such as drip irrigation to optimize water use.
Promote water conservation practices among farmers to mitigate drought impact.
Community Engagement and Training:

Conduct training programs on modern farming techniques, emphasizing water-efficient practices.
Foster community collaboration to share knowledge and resources.
Raise awareness about the importance of crop diversification for long-term food security.
Technology Adoption:

Introduce climate-smart technologies such as drought-resistant crop varieties.
Promote the use of precision farming tools to optimize resource utilization.
Implement mobile-based agricultural advisory services for timely information dissemination.
Market Access and Value Addition:

Facilitate market linkages for cassava and sweet potato products.
Encourage value addition through processing techniques like drying, flour production, and storage.
Establish cooperatives to strengthen bargaining power in the market.
Infrastructure Development:

Invest in rural infrastructure, including roads for easy transportation of produce.
Establish storage facilities to prevent post-harvest losses.
Develop processing units for value-added products.
Government Support and Policies:

Advocate for policies that support sustainable agricultural practices and water management.
Seek government assistance in providing subsidies for drought-resistant crop varieties and irrigation infrastructure.
Ensure the availability of agricultural extension services for ongoing support.
Research and Innovation:

Collaborate with agricultural research institutions to develop climate-resilient varieties.
Promote innovation in farming practices through research and development initiatives.
Monitoring and Evaluation:

Implement a robust monitoring and evaluation system to assess the effectiveness of the strategy.
Regularly review and adapt the approach based on feedback and changing climatic conditions.
By integrating these elements, the strategy aims to enhance food security and self-sufficiency in the Tigray region, mitigating the impact of drought and fostering sustainable agricultural practices.

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