Eritrea introduces MIHAP to the world

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The Ministry of Agriculture is introducing its small-scale farmers’ strategy commonly known as the Minimum Integrated Household Agricultural Package (MIHAP) to the world through different promotional activities.

Eritrea used the 3rd Regional Forum of African Initiative for Combating Desertification (AI-CD) which was held in Muguga, Kenya from 14th-17th May, 2019 to promote MIHAP as a good adaptation strategy towards climate change and improvement of small-scale farmers’ livelihood.

The forum considered MIHAP as a good practice and the AI-CD secretariat uploaded the strategy document along with its video formats it in its official website.

According to the AI-CD uploaded YouTube views, more than a thousand people have so far viewed the MIHAP video just in the past few final days of May, 2019.

It is to be noted that MIHAP plays a vital role in transforming the traditional farming system which is contributing to a great deal of land degradation in to semi-intensive agriculture.

MIHAP minimizes overgrazing, deforestation and soil erosion. On the contrary it contributes to wise use of land and water by promoting increased productivity, tree planting, soil and water conservation, pollination through bee keeping etc. At the end of the day, it promotes sedentary life style and thereby improved livelihood. Generally MIHAP is a good model of Climate Smart Agriculture.

The concept of MIHAP was developed by the Ministry of Agriculture of the State of Eritrea in early 2013.

The main components of this package are as follows:

1. One improved local or cross-breed with holstein in-calf heifer or 6 shoats to be provided on a pass-on program i.e. the farmer gives back the first female calf of about one year or 5 female kids/ lambs and one male.
2. Twenty five chicks (22 females and 3 males) on a loan basis to be paid back in cash.
3. Two bee hives also on a loan basis to be paid in cash.
4. Vegetable seeds also on loan basis to be paid in cash.
5. Twenty tree seedlings of which 10 fruit trees, 5 leguminous trees (such as moringa, leucinia, pigeon pea etc. as a supplement to the cow feed but also excellent human supplementary diet in the case of moringa and pigeon pea.

The other 5 seedlings are fire-wood trees to be prunned regularly for household purposes using our improved energy-saving stove. These seedlings will also be provided on loan basis to be paid in cash.

The package is constantly evolving to include the improved stove, solar lighting, laterine, bio-gas etc.

The above-mentioned plot of a quarter of a hectare i.e. 2,500 sq. meters will be used as follows:

- 1,000 sq. meters for the production of green feed for the cow mainly alfalfa, maize, colombos or elephant grass.
- 1,000 sq. meters for the production of cereals for the family preferably hybrid maize which can yield around 1.2 tons in two cycles.
- 500 sq. meters for vegetable production.

As can be understood from the above narrative, families included in the package will have milk, eggs, meat, vegetables, fruits and honey which provide the required nutrition for the family and for sale. However, as is already happening, the package will not continue to generate primary products only but transform into value addition starting with dairy products and byproducts. Milk collection, processing and packaging facilities will be installed and connected to the market.

The total cost of establishing MIHAP for each beneficiary household is USD 4000.00 and the payback period is a maximum of two years.

Moreover, the Ministry of Agriculture has also prepared a pragmatic strategy for small and medium commercial farmers.

According to the Information, Communication and Documentation Unit of the Ministry, the strategy is in the process of printing and will soon be distributed to all relevant stakeholders.

It is to be noted that the Small and Medium Commercial Farmers Strategy (SMCFS) is a continuation of MIHAP that blueprints the transformation of MIHAP and other small-scale farmers in to a modern farming systems.

In another area, the Ministry of Agriculture gave national Fall Armyworm training. The training of trainers (ToT) on Fall army worm (FAW) was conducted from 13th – 17th May, 2019 in Mendefera city, Southern Region.

The training was officially opened by Mr. Teklu Beraki, Director of crop production division in the Southern Region. In the opening remark he made, Mr. Teklu underscored the importance of capacity building in the fight against Fall army worm. He added, “thanks to the mass awareness campaign and strengthening capacity of experts done in the year 2018, the small outbreaks of FAW were effectively managed.” According to Mr. Tedros Sium, Head of Migratory Pests Control Unit, the training included Background of FAW and Risk map, Early warning and forecasting of FAW, FAW biology and identification, Geographical information systems (GIS) application on FAW, Scouting Methods and Trapping techniques as well as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). In this first round training, 33 trainees, of which 40 percent were female experts, who represented all sub regions of Maekel and Debub region, National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), Regulatory Services Department and National Animal and Plant Health Laboratory participated in the ToT.

Finally the trainees recommended continuous capacity building trainings and awareness campaigns as well as NARI’s active involvement in FAW management research be conducted. Similar training will be given to the rest sub-regions of the country in the months of June and July, according to Mr. Tedros Sium.