College of Agricultural Sciences Dean, Dr Yishak Kachero, the coordinator of ‘Bright Future in Agriculture South: Quality and Employability of Ethiopian ATVET Graduates in Horticulture’ on project’s operational aspects said, this unique endeavor will capacitate agricultural experts from three ATVETs from Wolaita Soddo, Alage and Bishoftu to reap desired horticultural harvest by addressing training, water efficiency and marketing issues.
He informed that University President, Dr Damtew Darza, is the program director; deputy coordinator, Mr Elias Endale, will assist him in overall management of the project, there will be few more administrative staff. The minimum tenure of this project is two years; since its beginning already got delayed, hence its duration is likely to get stretched for over by a year and extended budget will be borne by Nuffic.

The project’s operational and management cost is € 1.7 Million (ETB 56,882,000) and if it gets extended based on our performance will also may have second phase. As per the agreement, AMU will be contributing € 70,000 in cash or kind by facilitating community service training, providing lodging, etc.

The project primarily focuses on horticulture crops that include production, water efficiency, crop supply, processing, post-harvest management and marketing issues are its pillars. Wolaita Soddo, Bishoftu and Alage ATVETs are its three stakeholders for they produce different fruits and vegetables.

He adds, at the outset, it will impart skill improvement training to agricultural experts holding qualification of diploma and above. AMU’s 20 trainers and few from consortium members i.e. Jimma, Hawassa and Haramaya universities will train 10,000 trainees periodically. And, project management team will be given brief training to hone their leadership skill in Netherlands probably in mid July 2020. He revealed that the project may annually sponsor 10 Master and PhD thesis of AMU students and staff members from agricultural and irrigation engineering streams.

On three key components, he said, AMU professionals, consortium members and Dutch experts will develop scientific manual on water utilization, crop productivity and capacity building will consume one year. As we are about to set up project office, soon we will buy cars for office and ATVETs, he added.

Elaborating further he, said, ATVETs being our partners have their specific tasks clearly delineated in the manual and it’s AMU who will be monitoring stipulated activities. The issue at stake is that ATVETs’ graduates have knowledge and good attitude but lack skills; therefore, in near future some of our staff may visit Europe, South Africa, China and Brazil to share experience and to observe their ATVETs, laboratories and farms.

Commenting on parameters to evaluate achievements of intended objectives, he said, according to the feedback assessment strategy, the core team of Ethiopian and Dutch members will move to the assigned fields of ATVETs graduates’ to assess whether the training has improved their skill or not. On productivity and marketing, he said, we have various scientific procedures in the manual to address these issues.

He stressed that this project being of great global significance will address the issue of globalization, increase the visibility and reputability of AMU, validates AMU staff’s professional traits and increase mental horizon as we start leading different ATVETs in this part of Ethiopia, he summed up.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)