I want research to penetrate inaccessible territories: Dr Teshome

Research Directorate is expected to roll out 153 thematic and few grand projects in 2018-19 to provide strategic succors to the community grappling with untold socio-economic problems in the adjoining catchments. And precisely, this year’s focus will be to address issues of people who were devoid of availing much-needed assistance is our motto, Director, Dr Teshome Yirgu, said.

Unraveling annual outlay, Dr Teshome, informed that for 2018-19, its ETB 24,20 Million, 32% more compared to last year’s ETB 18.6 Million. Last year, 97.08% of financial resources were utilized and below 3% couldn’t due to minor inconvenience in transferring funds.

Further, he adds apart from tepid response from finance directorate, issues such as some staff members were found shirking responsibilities coupled with staff exodus precluded progress and we had to start all over again. Furthermore, purchasing process has been another hurdle that makes things worse and perennial transport problems continue to dog. He said that even having completed 1st Quarter, no research activities have been conducted due to non-release of funds.

The involvement of female researchers isn’t reassuringly changing, rather it remains the same, he stressed, probably lack of incentives package may not be the motivating factor. Decrying the instances of subordination by those manning different research institutions, he says, it makes things look rather scattered, but hope newly proposed structure will make things right if approved.

Exemplifying stance, he said, this year, we want to barge into unexplored territories, wherein people of those regions that simply remained unaddressed due to its poor connectivity to the mainstream. This time, I encourage everyone to make headway into such unattended regions, it could be Gamo Highlands, Derashe, Segen People’s region, etc, he added.

Another intervention, AMU is contemplating is to revive dying Abaya-Chamo Lakes, he said, however, things may look irretrievable, but we must be optimistic. It’s humans who degrade environment, must therefore, create awareness and undertake corrective measures at densely populated upper catchment. Traditional farming is harmful, it needs to be supplemented by an alternative livelihood options. Previously humongous silt would flow, now rocks and boulders are tumbling down into clogging its basin and water salty that is affecting crops all around and buffer areas of the Lakes; so looking into social dimension is the real issue.

This time, we expect more Grand projects and we are open to accept them at any time. This time round we might get many. On last year’s achievement, he said, I don’t consider it as something extraordinary, we tried our best. Research on Enset, Moringa, Malt Barley, Coffee, livestock, highland fruits and vegetables are in good state and soon it will be transferred to the community. Similarly, a yam project, a gene bank is yielding better results at Arba Minch Zuria, Basketo, Gofa, Dara Malo and Bonke woredas.

On novel idea, he said, I am optimistic about my office; I will try my best to get academic staff involved in research activities by facilitating conducive environment for the same. As our work gets expanded, we might get funding from Germany in the field of anthropology, involvement of expatriate staff from all campuses need to be encouraged, he averred.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)