Ethiopia is the third largest producer of maize in Africa, following South Africa and Nigeria (FAOSTAT, 2015). In Ethiopia, Maize is produced in an area of 2 million hectare of land with annual total production of about 6.5 million tons only during the main cropping season alone. Maize productivity during the same year was 3.25 t/ha (CSA, 2013/2014).
In Ethiopia, the national average maize (Zea mays L.) yield still is quite low (3.25 tons) (CSA, 2013/14) compared to the attainable yield of 8.5 ton (Nutrient Expert tool estimation). This high yield gaps, referred as the difference between the attainable and actual yields are attributed to several factors related to crop variety used, crop management practices especially weed management and plant density and soil nutrient managements.
Taking Maize Agronomy to Scale in Africa (TAMASA), was developed with the main objective of narrowing the maize yield gaps through developing and scaling out decision support tools that helps appropriate site specific variety and nutrient recommendations based on geo-referenced crop and soil databases collected during the project lifespan in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania. These tools are Nutrient Expert tool, which determines the appropriate amount and kind of nutrients for specific farm and Variety tool, that identify the suitable variety for a given geo-referenced locations. These tools help the farmers to make more precise fertilizer and variety recommendation and ultimately contribute to narrowing the maize yield gap and hence improves maize production and productivity in Ethiopia.
TAMASA Project Focal Areas
Four project focal areas have been identified in two regional states of Ethiopia, namely Oromia and Amhara.
About four grids in each and a total of sixteen grids were randomly generated in the maize growing areas of Jimma, Bako, East Shoa and West Gojam areas – the major maize growing belts of the country. The field experiments are established in the four grids generated at Jimma and Bako areas, whereas the household surveys are conducted in all the sixteen grids generated at all the four TAMASA focal areas.
TAMASA Partners in Ethiopia
TAMASA is primarily being implemented by CIMMYT Ethiopia as a host and Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute (EIAR) as implementing partner.
In addition, other organizations – including Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), World Vision Ethiopia, GIZ and MoANR – are associate partners who will promote the use of different tools to be developed by the project. Service providers such as development agents (DAs) and district level agricultural experts, who are engaged in agricultural extension services, are also partners as they are in close contact with the end users (farmers). Currently, DAs are involved in managing 2-4 calibration and validation experiments established in their respective kebele (peasant association).
TAMASA Ethiopia News
In Ethiopia regional fertilizer recommendations are being widely used. Yet inherent soil fertility status as well as soil fertility management practice varies from village to village and from farmer to farmer.
Nutrient Expert is a decision-support tool (program), developed by the International Plant Nutrition Institute, that can help farmers and extension providers improve fertilizer recommendations, increasing fertilizer use efficiency, productivity and profitability.