As part of the ICARDA led project ‘Narrowing the yield gaps of barley-faba bean based cropping systems through knowledge based pest management practices for improved food systems of small holder farmers in the Highlands of Ethiopia’, a field day was organized by the Debre Birhan Agricultural Research Center (DBARC) on 14 June, 2015, at Chacha, North Shoa, Ethiopia. The purpose of the event was to showcase the Austria Development Agency (ADA) and USAID supported malt and food barley seed multiplication activities and participatory varietal selection (PVS) trials in faba bean where 12 varieties were evaluated. These activities were implemented during the short rainy season (Belg season) using supplementary irrigation.
In addition to the visit to seed multiplication plots, the field day participants evaluated 12 faba bean varieties that were tested in a participatory variety selection trial and selected their preferred varieties for dry seed yield and the possibility of producing green pods. These can give a premium price to farmers who can supplement their faba bean crop with irrigation. The criteria set by the farmers to select the varieties were earliness, number of pods per plant, pod length, number of seeds per pod, plant height and disease and insect pest resistance.
With the help of a socio-economist from DBARC, they used a pair-wise ranking procedure for decision making. The top three varieties ranked by farmers were Moti, Gora and Gebelcho. The first two selected varieties have now been planted on half a hectare each at Bakelo and Alem Ketema, North Shoa, with the intention of pre-scaling them up in the next 2016/17 Belg season. These three varieties have also been recommended for the main rainy season. This indicates their wide adaptation for both the main rainy and Belg seasons. Seed production can be done during the Belg season when there is limited cross pollination from landraces. Farmers also expressed their interest in adopting the malt barley technologies suitable for Belg season with supplementary irrigation.
This project is mapped to the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legume (faba bean) and Dryland Cereals (barley). The current activities are a clear example of complementarity and synergy among the different bilateral projects where the outputs of an ADA supported project are providing key inputs to a more recent project supported by USAID on malt barley and faba bean.